Navigation Links
Manganese in drinking water: Study suggests adverse effects on children's intellectual abilities

This press release is available in French.

A team of researchers led by Maryse Bouchard, adjunct professor at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Biology, Health, Environment and Society (CINBIOSE) of the Universit du Qubec Montral and a researcher at Sainte-Justine University Hospital, and Donna Mergler, professor emerita in the Department of Biological Sciences and a member of CINBIOSE, recently completed a study showing that children exposed to high concentrations of manganese in drinking water performed worse on tests of intellectual functioning than children with lower exposures. Their results are published in the prestigious scientific journal Environmental Health Perspectives, in an article entitled "Intellectual Impairment in School-Age Children Exposed to Manganese from Drinking Water".

Manganese: toxic in the workplace but harmless in water?

The neurotoxic effects of manganese exposure in the workplace are well known. This metal is naturally occurring in soil and in certain conditions is present in groundwater. In several regions of Quebec and Canada and in other parts of the world, the groundwater contains naturally high levels of manganese. Does it pose a danger? What effect might it have on children's health? This is the first study to focus on the potential risks of exposure to manganese in drinking water in North America.

The study, carried out by researchers at the Universit du Qubec Montral, the Universit de Montral and the cole Polytechnique de Montral, examined 362 Quebec children, between the ages of 6 and 13, living in homes supplied by with groundwater (individual or public wells). For each child, the researchers measured the concentration of manganese in tap water from their home, as well as iron, copper, lead, zinc, arsenic, magnesium and calcium. The amount of manganese from both tap water and food was estimated from a questionnaire. Finally, each child was assessed with a battery of tests assessing cognition, motor skills, and behaviour.

Lead author Maryse Bouchard explains, "We found significant deficits in the intelligence quotient (IQ) of children exposed to higher concentration of manganese in drinking water. Yet, manganese concentrations were well below current guidelines." The average IQ of children whose tap water was in the upper 20% of manganese concentration was 6 points below children whose water contained little or no manganese. The analyses of the association between manganese in tap water and children's IQ took into account various factors such as family income, maternal intelligence, maternal education, and the presence of other metals in the water. For co-author Donna Mergler, "This is a very marked effect; few environmental contaminants have shown such a strong correlation with intellectual ability." The authors state that the amount of manganese present in food showed no relationship to the children's IQ.

What next?

So what can be done about it? Some of the municipalities where the study was conducted have already installed a filtration system that removes manganese from the water. According to one of the other co-authors of the study, Benoit Barbeau, NSERC Industrial Chair in Drinking Water at the cole Polytechnique de Montral, "A viable alternative solution is home use of filtering pitchers that contain a mixture of resins and activated carbon. Such devices can reduce the concentration of manganese by 60% to100% depending on filter use and the characteristics of the water."

In Quebec, where the study was conducted, manganese is not on the list of inorganic substances in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks Regulation respecting the quality of drinking water. "Because of the common occurrence of this metal in drinking water and the observed effects at low concentrations, we believe that national and international guidelines for safe manganese in water should be revisited." the authors conclude.


Contact: Claire Bouchard
Universit du Qubec Montral

Related biology news :

1. Methane-eating microbes can use iron and manganese oxides to breathe
2. School-based intervention successfully lowers drinking rates in at risk children
3. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy may damage semen quality in sons
4. Discovery may lead to safer drinking water, cheaper medicine: Queens University researchers
5. UT study finds viruses in untreated East Tennessee drinking water
6. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy could lead to acute myeloid leukemia in children
7. Drinking 100 percent fruit juice is associated with improved diet quality in children
8. Drinking tap water may help you avoid dentists drill
9. Uniform analyses for clean drinking water in Europe
10. Novel bacterial strains clear algal toxins from drinking water
11. Army study improves ability to predict drinking water needs
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/1/2015)...  Biometrics includes diverse set of technologies used ... as fingerprints, eye retinas, facial patterns, voice patterns, ... has been constantly increasing in India ... addition to the most prominent popular method of ... of biometric authentication are rapidly gaining traction in ...
(Date:9/29/2015)... , Sept. 29, 2015 ... employee productivity while also saving energy , Minimized ... as Low Power Active Mode and embedded Fujitsu PalmSecure ... Fujitsu today shows that good things ... and refreshed models to its enterprise desktop and mobile ...
(Date:9/28/2015)... , September 28, 2015 ... expected to reach USD 12.03 billion by 2020, growing ... Technological advancements such as Backside Illumination (BSI) technique to ... over the forecast period.      (Logo: ... of the chip to reduce loss and, thus, reduce ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2015  DePuy ... ® Flex with Q-PACK ®  Technology**, the ... use in trauma-related extremity procedures (foot and ankle, hand ... The announcement was made here at the 2015 Orthopaedic ... (provides a natural scaffold for new bone growth) ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... Arbor, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2015 ... ... all around us. However, the current methods of separating those cells from their ... costly, and damaging to the cells. , To address this, Ann Arbor-based startup ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... ... October 08, 2015 , ... Researchers at the University of Washington (UW) have ... a new tool to study how diseases like dementia, Alzheimer's, and brain tumors change ... Ruikang Wang of the UW Department of Bioengineering, today in the Journal of ...
(Date:10/8/2015)...  Sorrento Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:  SRNE; Sorrento), a ... and associated pain, announced today that Dr. Henry Ji, President ... the Aegis Capital Corporation 2015 Growth Conference in ... 2015 Growth ConferenceDate:Friday, October 9, 2015Time:10:00 to 10:30 ... Wynn in Las Vegas, NV , ...
Breaking Biology Technology: