WELDING ROD FUMES LAWSUIT
Can the Manganese in the Welding Rods Cause Manganism or Parkinson’s Disease ?
Manganism is a chronic disorder of the central nervous system. The symptoms of manganism are similar to Parkinson’s Disease, and may include tremors, shakes, weakness, slow and clumsy movements, difficulty breathing, loss of coordination and slurred speech.
Manganism is caused by exposure to high levels of manganese. Manganese is a naturally occurring substance found in many types of rock. Pure manganese is a silver-colored metal, somewhat like iron in its physical and chemical properties. Manganese does not occur in the environment as the pure metal. Rather, it occurs combined with other chemicals such as oxygen, sulfur, and chlorine. These compounds are solids that do not evaporate. However, small dust particles of the solid material can become suspended in air. Some manganese compounds can dissolve in water, and low levels of these compounds are normally present in lakes, streams, and the ocean. Manganese can change from one compound to another (either by natural processes or by man’s activities), but it does not break down or disappear in the environment. Welding rods consists of metal coated with or containing manganese, zinc, cadmium, chromium, copper, fluoride, lead, or vanadium, because the resulting fumes can cause a condition commonly known as metal-fume fever. This condition may in fact be more serious than the name metal fume fever or welders sickness or welders disease, it may be early stages of Parkinson’s Disease or Manganism.
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM ?
Rocks containing high levels of manganese compounds are mined and used to produce manganese metal. This manganese metal is mixed with iron to make various types of steel. Some manganese compounds are used in the production of batteries, as an ingredient in some ceramics, pesticides, and fertilizers, and in dietary supplements.
Miners, welders, pesticides workers and fertilizer workers, making certain types of batteries, ceramic workers, and workers in steel production are at risk for manganism.
If you live near a hazardous waste site,
you could be exposed to manganese in soil or water, or to manganese-containing
dust particles in air. If you get manganese-contaminated soil or water on your
skin, very little will enter your body. If you swallow manganese in water or in
soil, most of the manganese is excreted in the feces. However, about 3-5 percent
is usually taken up and kept in the body. If you breathe air containing
manganese dust, many of the dust particles will be trapped in your lungs. Some
of the manganese in these particles may then dissolve in the lungs and enter the
blood. The exact amount that does this is not known. Particles that do not
dissolve will be carried in a sticky layer of mucus out of the lungs to the
throat, where they will be swallowed into the stomach.
Because manganese is a regular part of the human body, the body normally controls the amount that is taken up and kept. For example, if large amounts are eaten in the diet, the amount that is taken up in the body becomes smaller. If too much does enter the body, the excess is usually removed in the feces. Therefore, the total amount of manganese in the body usually tends to stay about the same, even when exposure rates are higher or lower than usual. However, if too much manganese is taken in, the body may not be able to adjust for the added amount.
MANGANESE – WELDING FUMES
Too much manganese, however, can cause serious illness. Although there are some differences between different kinds of manganese, most manganese compounds seem to cause the same effects. Manganese miners or steel workers exposed to high levels of manganese dust in air may have mental and emotional disturbances, and their body movements may become slow and clumsy. This combination of symptoms is a disease called manganism. Workers usually do not develop symptoms of manganism unless they have been exposed for many months or years. Manganism occurs because too much manganese injures a part of the brain that helps control body movements. Some of the symptoms of manganism can be reduced by medical treatment, but the brain injury is permanent. There are reports that patients have developed symptoms several years after exposure to manganese had ceased. Manganism is a permanently disabling disease for which there is no cure.
MANGANISM – PRIMARY SYMPTOMS – WELDING ROD FUMES
Tremors or Shakes
Decreased hand agility
Distorted facial expression
Loss of equilibrium (balance)
Loss of short term memory Sinus problems
Slurred speech or slow speech
Stiffness in arm and leg muscles
Sudden and/or severe mood changes