Possible health effects of high manganese concentration in drinking water

Arch Environ Health. 1989 May-Jun;44(3):175-8. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1989.9935883.


Three areas in the same region of northwest Peloponnesos, Greece, that had varying concentrations of manganese (Mn) in drinking water were selected for study. The Mn concentrations in areas A, B, and C were 3.6-14.6 micrograms/l, 81.6-252.6 micrograms/l, and 1 800-2 300 micrograms/l, respectively. A random sample (62 in area A, 49 in area B, and 77 in area C) of males and females who were at least 50 y of age were submitted to a thorough neurological examination and their whole-blood Mn and hair Mn concentrations were determined. Although all areas were similar with respect to social and dietary characteristics, significant differences were observed for prevalence of chronic manganese poisoning (CMnP) symptoms and hair Mn concentration. The means (both sexes) of neurological scores were 2.7, 3.9, and 5.2, respectively, for areas A, B, and C (Kruskal-Wallis, chi 2 = 6.44, 2 df, p less than .05 for males; chi 2 = 7.8, 2 df, p less than .05 for females). Hair Mn concentrations were also significantly different, the means for which were 3.51, 4.49, and 10.99 micrograms/g dry weight, respectively (both sexes [p less than .001 for each sex separately]). These results indicate that progressive increases of Mn concentration in drinking water are associated with progressively higher prevalences of neurological signs of CMnP and Mn concentration in hair of older persons.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Greece
  • Hair / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manganese / analysis
  • Manganese / blood
  • Manganese Poisoning*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Water Pollutants / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Supply / analysis*


  • Water Pollutants
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Manganese