What You Need To Know About Welding Rod Manganese Exposure

Exposure to manganese welding products, such as welding rods, can have negative effects on your health. Manganeseis often used in welding and is a popular choice of material to prevent corrosion in other materials. The dust created in the process of welding can be inhaled by workers and lead to severe complications. Learn more about the health risks of manganese exposure.

Occupations at Risk of Manganese Exposure
There are several different types of occupations that put workers at risk of manganese exposure. These include welding, mining, and other positions where exposure to metals coated with manganese is prevalent. Welders and other workers who work in tight spaces without proper air filtration are at a higher risk for manganese poisoning, and manganism, also known as welder’s disease.

Manganism 
One of the most common health problems caused by long term exposure to manganese is manganism. It is a serious health condition that can develop after as little as six months of exposure in a work environment (1). Common symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, cramps, and reoccurring headaches. These symptoms progress into more serious ones, such as loss of muscle control, dystonia, and stiffness of the muscles. In some cases, individuals with manganism cannot walk without assistance from a walker, or are confined to a wheelchair because of gait-related complications.

Neurological and Behavioral Problems
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found research that points to increased brain and behavioral problems in welders who work with materials such as manganese, lead, and iron (2). In the research studies, welders who were exposed to these materials had lower levels of brain functioning, and decreased motor skills. Noticeable changes in coordination, mood, and memory were also apparent. Welders who inhale manganese dust for prolonged periods of time are also at risk of incurring damage to the central nervous system (1).

Symptoms
Individuals may experience a variety of symptoms after exposure to manganese that can lead to more serious conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, and even metal poisoning. Symptoms may not appear immediately after exposure to manganese. They typically develop over time, and can accumulate. Common symptoms include difficulty maintaining balance, walking problems, shaking, slurred speech, mental fog or confusion, and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms are serious, and must be treated immediately to prevent further health complications.

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Sources:

1)    http://www.expertlaw.com/library/environmental_law/manganism.html

2)    http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/welding/