Welding fumes are a complex mixture composed of different metals. Most welding fumes contain a small percentage of manganese. There is an emerging concern among occupational health officials about the potential neurological effects associated with the exposure to manganese in welding fumes. Little is known about the fate of manganese that is complexed with other metals in the welding particles after inhalation. Depending on the welding process and the composition of the welding electrode, manganese may be present in different oxidation states and have different solubility properties. These differences may affect the biological responses to manganese after the inhalation of welding fumes. Manganese intoxication and the associated neurological symptoms have been reported in individual cases of welders who have been exposed to high concentrations of manganese-containing welding fumes due to work in poorly ventilated areas. However, the question remains as to whether welders who are exposed to low levels of welding fumes over long periods of time are at risk for the development of neurological diseases. For the most part, questions remain unanswered. There is still paucity of adequate scientific reports on welders who suffered significant neurotoxicity, hence there is a need for well-designed epidemiology studies that combine complete information on the occupational exposure of welders with both behavioral and biochemical endpoints of neurotoxicity.
- Welding fumes