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What is Manganese? Is it Dangerous?

Richard Y. Cheng, Esq.What is manganese? No, it’s not the tropical fruit you are thinking of, nor is it that little trinket that you use to hold up the Chinese fast food menu on your refrigerator. Manganese should not be confused with Magnesium, a mineral that is essential for human nutrition. Manganese is a metal and a necessary nutrient to humans in tiny amounts. When people are exposed to manganese at elevated levels, however, it can enter the bloodstream and present very toxic manganese dangers. Mostly presenting central nervous system effects, manganese dangers have been most often linked to welders exposed to the dangerous fumes at high levels for extended periods. This is called manganism.

Manganism has also been referred as “Parkinson’s Syndrome” because its symptoms closely resemble those of Parkinson’s disease, a devastating and fatal neurological illness. Manganism is also called welder’s-disease because of the high incidence in welders and those exposed to the fumes from welding rods. According to the NIH, “Occupational exposure to manganese for periods from 6 months to 2 years can result in manganism, a disease of the central nervous system characterized by psychogenic and neurological disorders with symptoms resembling Parkinson’s disease.” The NIH report also noted that prolonged manganese exposure had been connected to reduced white blood cell counts, sexual dysfunction and impotence. Moreover, high levels of manganese have shown to cause learning disabilities, coordination disabilities, behavioral changes, brain injury, and clumsy movements. Finally, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a paper connecting manganese poisoning to Parkinson’s-like manganism; asthenia, insomnia, mental confusion; metal fume fever, dry throat, coughing, tight chest; dyspnea, rales, flu-like fever; lower-back pain, vomiting, malaise and fatigue.

Although welders are at a greater risk of manganese poisoning than most, people who are regularly exposed to factories (e.g., coal or oil burning factories) that produce manganese metal are at risk for higher levels of manganese in their system. Manganese is also added to some gasoline, which could pose a threat to those living in urban areas (e.g., water source), working in garages or spending a lot of time in bus stops. By now, you are probably asking, “how do keep this dangerous substance away from me and my loved ones?” Well, keep in mind that manganese is only toxic at high levels. As a result, it may be helpful to do the following:

1. Test your water to determine the manganese level
2. Buy a water filter
3. Avoid congested area with exhaust fumes
4. Limit your exposure to coal or oil burning factories

In the end, I heavily recommend those of you who have regular exposure to this substance to seek medical assistance, to determine if you have been adversely affected. Also, seek a competent attorney to understand your legal rights concerning this matter.

For more information see: The Most Dangerous Toxin that Almost No One Knows About

***DISCLAIMER: The content provided is not intended to be construed as legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns, based on your factual circumstances, please contact Richard Y. Cheng, Esq. with Pearson, Randall, Schumacher & LaBore, P.A. (612)767-7500 or rcheng@prslegal.com***

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