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Manganese welding fumes used by Wisconsin welders and welders elsewhere are known to cause Parkinson's disease-like symptoms. There are a variety of welding processes including: Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW, stick), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW, MIG), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW, TIG), Flux Colored Arc Welding (FCAW), Plasma Arc Welding (PAC, PAW), Submerged Arc Welding (SAW), Carbon Arc Welding (CAW), Electro Slag Welding (ESW), Electro Gas Welding (EGW), Stand Welding, Oxyacetylene Welding, Beddon Plate Welding, Torch Brazing, Oxygen Cutting, Air Carbon, and Arc Cutting. Our Wisconsin personal injury law firm investigates such manganese welding fumes cases. Here are symptoms associated with manganese welding fumes:
|Loss of balance|
|Leg cramps at night|
|Face muscles tightening|
|Anxiousness & irritability|
|Short term loss of memory|
Welders with manganese are sometimes diagnosed with ordinary Parkinson's disease or Lou Gehrig's disease (a/k/a ALS) or multiple sclerosis.
A March, 2004 Neurology article discusses a treatment, L-Dopa or levodopa, given for "parkinsonism" associated with manganese in welders. "Effect of levodopa treatment for parkinsonism in welders: A double-blind study," from neurologists at Mount Sinai studied the L-dopa treatment in welders with manganese. Those neurologists said manganese is known to cause a parkinsonian syndrome that has similar symptoms to Parkinson disease. Since levodopa was known respond in those with Parkinson's disease but it's effect on manganese induced parkinsonism was vague, the neurologists analyzed the latter. In the study, manganese parkinsonism patients were studied using an established Parkinson's Disease rating scale, walk and tap testing, general impression scores, and adverse reactions. The neurologists showed there was no significant difference between placebos and L-dopa. Thus, levodopa is not effective for manganese parkinsonism in welders but it might help to set apart Parkinson disease from the caused by manganese welding rods.
"Welding-related parkinsonism," an older study in Neurology, looked at welding parkinsonism and Parkinson's disease. The doctors looked at welders symptoms including slow movements, shaking, tremors, instability, stiffness, leg cramps, losing coordination, slurred speech, tight face muscles, bad handwriting, difficulties walking, anxiety, irritability, impotence, emotional change, and short term loss of memory. The physicians compared welders who on average had 47,144 welding hours. Welders were found to have a younger age of onset 46 years of PD versus 63 years. This study though showed welders responding to levodopa and concluded that Parkinsonism in welders could only be distinguished by age.
Welders are not the only workers at risk for manganese injury, but others include ironworkers, miners and workers in factories and the railroad, ironworks, and steel industries.
Effect of levodopa treatment for parkinsonism in welders: A double-blind study. William C. Koller, et al. Neurology, Mar 2004; 62: 730 - 733.
Welding-related parkinsonism: Clinical features, treatment, and pathophysiology. Racette BA, et al. Neurology. 2001 Jan 9;56(1):8-13.