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Manganese Exposure

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Exposure to excess levels of manganese may occur from breathing air, particularly where manganese is used in manufacturing, and from drinking water and eating food. At high levels, it can cause damage to the brain, liver, kidneys, and the developing fetus

Workers are chronically exposed to manganese everyday at high levels. Welders especially have been affected by manganese poisoning that alters nervous system functioning due to exposure to toxic fumes, fires, dust, and other hazards. Linked to serious conditions such as Parkinson's Disease, manganese is not recognized as an occupational hazard due to the manganese effects similar to non-occupational diseases.

Manganese exposure can cause a condition known as Manganism, which is characterized by mental difficulties, the impairment of motor skills, and occurs when an individual has been exposed to high levels of manganese. Manganism affects the brain, kidney, liver, lungs, and also affects the central nervous system in a way similar to Parkinson's Disease. Because of the similarities in the symptoms of Manganism and Parkinson's Disease, Manganism has been classified as Parkinson's syndrome.

People who work with Manganese are at a high risk for developing Manganism. These include:

  • Welders
  • Miners
  • Railroad workers
  • Steel workers
  • Factory workers
  • Agricultural workers who work with pesticides

Manganese can be found in many chemicals and agents used in many workplaces.These include:

  • Cleaning solvents
  • Dry cleaning solvents
  • Spray paints
  • Paint removers
  • Gasoline fuel
  • Kerosene fuel
  • Degreasers
  • Lubricants

Obvious symptoms may not develop until after age 50. However, less noticeable symptoms of Manganism may appear in individuals who are younger and who have experienced prolonged low-level exposure to manganese.

OSHA: The legal airborne manganese exposure limit permissible is 5mg/m3 and cannot be exceeded at any time.

ACGIH: The recommended airborne manganese exposure limit is 5 mg/m3 for dust and compounds and cannot be exceeded at any time. The recommended airborne manganese exposure limit is 1 mg/m3 as manganese for fume averaged over an 8-hour work shift and is 3 mg/m3 for fume as a short-term manganese exposure limit.

See a doctor if you have been harmed by this substance. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights.


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