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Increased clumsiness in former welders
Date:2/6/2012

higher total manganese exposure had a poorer performance. We interpret this as a possible remaining effect of previous exposure to manganese, which is remarkable, given that so long a period had passed since they stopped welding", says Gunilla Wastensson.

First study of long-term effects

The study is the first to examine the effects a considerable period after the exposure to manganese has ceased. The results are worrying, but Gunilla Wastensson emphasises that they must be confirmed in further studies.
"Recent improvements in the work environment mean that the levels are lower now, but further measures to improve the situation associated with exposure to manganese at work are important", she says.

MANGANESE

Manganese is a metal that occurs naturally in the environment and in our bodies, where it is important in processes such as the turnover of carbohydrates and fats. People who are occupationally exposed for long periods to dust and fumes that contain high concentrations of manganese run the risk of developing, in rare cases, manganism. This is a disease with symptoms similar to those of Parkinson disease. It is caused by an accumulation of manganese in particular regions of the brain known as the basal ganglia, which are important for controlling body movement. Manganese is slowly excreted once exposure to the metal ends. The threshold limit value for manganese in air has been severely reduced in recent years, and is now 0.2 mg/m3 for total dust, and 0.1 mg/m3 for respirable dust. There is, however, a serious risk that the threshold limit value for manganese is exceeded at many welding locations. A proposal has been put forward in the US to reduce the threshold limit value to 0.02 mg/m3.


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Contact: Gunilla Wastensson
gunilla.wastensson@amm.gu.se
46-317-862-894
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert  

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