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What is Manganism?

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Welding rod fumes also contain a high level of manganese.

Manganism is disease caused by manganese exposure, a toxic element. Symptoms of Manganism resemble those of Parkinson's Disease, including slurred speech, trembling hands, and an unsteady gait. Manganism affects the body's central nervous system.

Manganism Exposure

Manganism is caused by long-term manganese exposure to high levels of manganese, typically as a result of inhaling either fumes or dust that contains the material. Frequently people who work with welding rods or near people working with welding rods inhale fumes that contain poisonous and toxic levels of manganese.

Manganism - Exposure in the Workplace

Workers exposed to manganese are also at risk to a condition termed Manganism. Manganism is also known as manganese poisoning that is often used interchangeably with Parkinson's Disease because the symptoms of the two manganese conditions are very similar. Manganism is characterized by mental difficulties and the impairment of motor skills like Parkinson's Disease but the pathology of the two conditions are very different. Miners are at an especially high risk for developing Manganism because of the high amount of manganese inhalation they are exposed to.

Manganism – Welding Rod Fumes

Welding rod fumes also contain a high level of manganese. Manganism has been observed widely amongst miners and industrial workers throughout the world, and agricultural workers that have been exposed to manganese in pesticides as well.

Welding rods contain a high concentration of manganese. When heated, the Manganese in the welding rod releases toxic fumes that are inhaled by the welder and others who might be standing nearby. Welders show a higher than normal average of Manganese exposure and Manganism.

Manganism and the Central Nervous System

Manganese has a very long elimination from the central nervous system, the effects of the manganese poisoning are seen later in life often times. The use of manganese is widespread, making manganism a continued concern. There are three different stages that are differentiated in manganism, including behavioral changes, parkinsonian features, and dystonia and gait disturbances. The onset of manganism can be observed through symptoms of fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, loss of appetite, apathy, insomnia, and a diminished libido.

Currently, no known prevention or cure for Parkinson's Disease exists, but there are precautions all workers should take when working in environments with manganese.


while the symptoms of Manganism and Parkinson Disease may be similar, there are distinct differences in the regions of the brain which are affected in these conditions. Manganese toxicity is thought primarily to affect two regions of the basal ganglia, including the striatum and globus palladus. On the other hand, idiopathic Parkinson Disease is thought to affect primarily the substantia nigra by reducing dopamine levels. Sinemet, a common medication used for Parkinson Disease, acts to replace the dopamine in this region and this medication can favorably affect a patient who has idiopathic Parkinson Disease. Due to the different regions of the brain affected in Mangansim, there is often no beneficial effect of dopamine replacement therapy in patients who suffer from this form of Parkinsonism.

Manganism – 3 Stages

There appear to be three stages in the development of Mangansim.

The first stage includes symptoms of malaise, apathy, emotional instability, sexual dysfunction, weakness, lethargy, loss of appetite, and headaches.

The second stage progresses to include more psychological disturbances, such as impaired memory and judgment, anxiety, and possible hallucinations.

The third stage of manganese poisoning includes symptoms such as progressive bradykinesia, impairment of voluntary movements, gait disturbances, rigidity, tremors, impaired coordination, and mask-like features. Early Mangansim may be reversible upon withdrawal of manganese exposure; however, neurological damage by the third stage of symptoms is reported to be permanent and progressive. People who are affected by


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