What can you do about the health effects of welding (manganism)?
Tests are available to determine your level of manganese exposure and to assess the possibility of ill health effects of welding. Early diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's disease, Parkinson's syndrome, manganism, health effects of welding, and related neurological disorders is important. While there is no cure for manganism, early diagnosis and treatment can improve the patient's quality of life.
You may qualify for welding rod litigation compensation if you or someone you love has suffered the health effects of welding. Contact a qualified attorney who is familiar with the health hazards of manganese and manganism to discuss your litigation options.
Learn the hazardous risks of manganese and manganism?
Information from the NIH - Environmental Health Perspectives Volume 106, Number 2, February 1998. Found at http://ehpnet1.niehs.nih.gov (as of 11/17/2004).
"Public health officials, scientists and regulators worry that a gasoline additive containing manganese, claimed by its maker to boost engine performance, may cause physical harm by increasing the amount of manganese in the air. Ethyl Corporation of Richmond, Virginia, which makes methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT), disputes such worries, and says the manganese emitted into the air when MMT is burned poses no risk to human health.
"The concerns about the additive come as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) is completing a toxicological profile of manganese to assess sources of exposure and the metal's impact on health. The agency is required to prepare such profiles for hazardous substances found at the nation's most serious hazardous waste sites—those on the EPA's National Priorities List of Superfund sites. Of 1,430 sites on the list, 644 (or 45%) have ‘excessive levels of manganese,’ according to the ATSDR. Excessive levels are those greater than background in the environment.
"A trace element, manganese is an essential part of the diet and can easily be obtained from grains and nuts. Manganese deficiency can lead to bone problems and stunted growth. Excess dietary manganese is simply excreted. A number of studies have shown that occupational exposure to manganese can lead to Parkinson's disease-like symptoms such as muscle tremors.
"Manganese is used to give strength to steel and aluminum. Manganese levels in the air can vary widely, being higher near foundries and metal plants and lower away from such facilities. But it is chronic exposure to manganese compounds emitted in the exhaust of vehicles fueled by MMT-boosted gas that has raised the most concerns.
"Canada banned the import of MMT this year—none of the additive is made there—due to concerns over possible health effects. MMT had been used in Canadian gasoline for nearly 20 years. Ethyl is fighting the ban. A U.S. appeals court in Washington, DC, overturned an EPA ban on MMT in 1995, saying the agency acted illegally by attempting to ban the additive on health grounds under the Clean Air Act (CAA). The court said that under the CAA, the EPA could only consider MMT's effect on engine performance. But California has successfully kept the additive out of unleaded gasoline sold in that state for approximately 20 years because of a ‘lack of data on the health effects of breathing manganese,’ says Richard Vincent, a spokesman for the California Air Resources Board.
"‘Widespread exposure to manganese,’ says Michael Davis, senior health scientist and acting chief of the EPA's Hazardous Pollutant Assessment Branch, ‘may cause neurological damage, as well as harm to the lungs and the reproductive system. We didn't feel like those areas were adequately evaluated [in considering exposure from MMT],’ he says. Davis notes studies that show workers who were occupationally exposed to manganese were subject to pneumonia and coughs. He also cites a 1973 study that suggested an increase in respiratory illnesses in Japanese students living near a factory emitting manganese.
"A draft toxicological profile for manganese prepared by the ATSDR cites studies showing that men occupationally exposed to manganese have impaired fertility as well as impotence and loss of libido. However, data on the health effects of manganese exposure are scanty and inconclusive, according to the profile.
"‘Moreover,’ says Monica Campbell, a Toronto toxicologist and spokesperson for the Ontario Public Health Association, ‘studies of MMT have failed to consider the impact of manganese from MMT on people living near major arterial roads. They are a vulnerable population more exposed to vehicle exhausts,’ she says.
"A study of laboratory rats, presented at the Arkansas conference by researchers Hans Tjälve and Jörgen Henriksson of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, found that, when inhaled through the nose, manganese can enter the brain and reach the spinal column. Says EPA Neuroscientist Kenneth Hudnell, ‘This is a whole new route of exposure that hasn't been considered before. It bypasses all protective barriers that we have.’
"And in an EPA-funded study, Donna Mergler, a neurophysiologist at the Université du Québec at Montréal, and colleagues found a relationship between manganese levels in the blood and neuromotor slowing problems in people who lived near, but did not work in, a former manganese alloy production plant. Higher blood manganese levels were also linked to learning and memory problems in men over the age of 50. But the findings from this research are preliminary, cautions Hudnell, who was a researcher on the study. ‘It simply points out the need for more research,’ he says.
"Donald Lynam, an Ethyl vice president and scientist, takes a different view. Lynam says that MMT adds virtually no manganese to the air. He points to the conclusions of an Ethyl-sponsored study, also presented at the Arkansas conference, that found that MMT's contribution of manganese to the air in Toronto was trivial.
"He further points to a review by the Canadian agency Health Canada that concludes that it is impossible to assess the impact of MMT on manganese in the air. The 1994 review, however, did recommend monitoring for MMT because use of the additive has increased substantially in recent years.
"Ethyl's position on the potential health hazards of manganese generated by MMT is unambiguous. According to a statement on the Ethyl Web site, "[N]o evidence exists suggesting that MMT presents any risk to public health, much less a significant risk."
"Meanwhile, MMT can be and is being added to gasoline in the United States. According to the EPA, MMT was added to 11 million gallons of gasoline during the summer of 1997. That is an extremely small portion of the billions of gallons of gas that are sold each year, according to the agency. But the EPA's concern over the manganese MMT puts into the air isn't assuaged. The agency is still talking with Ethyl Corporation to decide what types of health effects testing it wants done on animals exposed to the manganese generated when MMT is burned in gasoline."