Exposure to metal fumes from welding can cause brain damage. A major cause is manganese, a component of all steel and welding materials. Manganese has been known since 1837 to cause the degenerative brain disorder called Parkinsonism. Manganese exposure can cause damage to the central nervous system. Prolonged exposure to welding rod fumes result in manganese poisoning and severe health hazards, including harm to the central nervous system.
According to a study, 40 percent of welders showed indications of the disorder. Many physicians are unaware of manganese poisoning or the risks of welding exposure.
Major symptoms of manganese poisoning are tremors, shakes, loss of balance, memory loss, slowed movement, impotency, walking problems, slurred speech, extreme drowsiness or nighttime leg cramps. Because the symptoms are similar, welders may be mistakenly diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, Multiple Sclerosis.
Here are some info and instructions that welders should know and follow to keep themselves safe:
- OSHA requires employers to make use of engineering controls such as local exhaust ventilation to control health risks. Personal protective equipments such as respirators are necessary to supplement other measures. Ask your employer to verify these air-monitoring controls are duly protective by showing exposures below the threshold limit value for manganese (respirable fraction of 0.03 mg/m3). Ventilation, especially in enclosed work spaces, may not be ample. Powered air purifying respirators worn with a welding hood are now available.
- Obtain a copy of the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) for the welding rods you use. Ask your union steward or occupational health provider to make sure your overseer is aware of manganese fumes and that measures are in place to provide protection. Under OSHA, your employer has a responsibility to show you a current MSDS for any product you work with.
- Consider welding only where efficient exhaust ventilation is in use. Supplement your safety with a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-approved respirator. As part of a comprehensive respiratory protection program, employers have to provide respirators.
Free initial consultation - If you or a loved one has been exposed to welding rod fumes and has suffered from Manganese poisoning, please fill out and submit the form at the right or contact us today at 1-800-780-2686