Neurological risks associated with manganese exposure from welding operations--a literature review

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2009 Sep;212(5):459-69. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2008.12.003. Epub 2009 Jan 31.


Exposure to manganese dusts and fumes may cause a clinical neurological syndrome called manganism. Welders are frequently exposed to manganese-containing fumes generated by electric arcs and thermal torches. This paper reviews studies on the association between exposure to such welding fumes and neurological disease. Using the IRSST expert panel criteria, 78 cases of probable/possible, and 19 additional cases of possible occupational manganism were identified in the literature among manganese-exposed workers involved in welding processes. Epidemiological evidence linking welding exposures to Parkinson's disease is still controversial. Although more research is needed to clarify the risks of neurological impairment from welding, control measures including ventilation and adequate respiratory protection, should be implemented to minimize welding fume exposures. The significance of fume transport into the central nervous system via the olfactory nerve, which by-passes the blood-brain barrier, also needs to be assessed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Manganese / toxicity*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / etiology*
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology
  • Parkinson Disease / etiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Welding*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Manganese