Welders in Minnesota may be interested in information regarding the neurological effects of manganese exposure gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This element, which is an essential nutrient, is often present in welding fumes, but it can occur in a variety of other work settings. Certain occupations, such as mining and ore-crushing often expose workers to high airborne concentrations of manganese. In addition, the manufacturing of certain products, such as dry-cell batteries, inks, incendiary devices and pesticides, might also present an exposure risk to employees.
While consumption of manganese is necessary, excess inhalation of the substance can be dangerous. Unsafe levels of manganese inhalation might have negative effects on a worker’s lungs, kidney and liver. In addition, the central nervous system might also suffer damage due to prolonged exposure to high concentrations of manganese.
Some of the neurological effects of manganese exposure include Parkinson’s-like symptoms, such as tremors, difficulty balancing and muscle rigidity. These side effects are associated in exposure to more than 1 mg of manganese per cubic meter of air. However, wielders who are work in lower concentrations of less than .2 mg have also presented neurological symptoms, including reduced hand-eye coordination and mood swings.
Many of the effects of manganese could dramatically reduce a person’s ability to work and quality of life. However, if the worker suffered from these symptoms due to on-the-job exposure to the substance, it might be possible to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits that could include the costs of all necessary medical care and treatment as well as a percentage of wages that were lost due to an inability to work during the recovery period.