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Welders are exposed to the fumes from the coatings of the welding rods and the material being welded, specifically manganese. A neurotoxin called manganese is present in almost all welding fumes. The dust or fumes can be inhaled and can enter the blood stream and are deposited in the organs of the body, nerve cells of the brain, and the spinal cord. Medical studies have proven that long-term overexposure to welding dust or fumes can cause Parkinson's Disease.

All persons exposed to metallic fumes from welding are at risk since most typical welding operations expose welders to levels of manganese which are considered to be unsafe. Usually a period of five or ten years of cumulative exposures is needed. Short-term exposure will not usually cause detectable injury, but regular exposures can cause injury within one year or less. The sensitivity of each individual person to manganese is quite different. The symptoms may not appear until several years after a person has stopped welding.

Nervous system diseases are often a combination of different symptoms. These vary from person to person. Click here for a list of symptoms associated with welding-related manganism.


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