Impact of air manganese on child neurodevelopment in East Liverpool, Ohio

Neurotoxicology. 2018 Jan;64:94-102. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2017.09.001. Epub 2017 Sep 6.


Background: East Liverpool, Ohio, the site of a hazardous waste incinerator and a manganese (Mn) processor, has had air Mn concentrations exceeding United States Environmental Protection Agency reference levels for over a decade. Save Our County, Inc., a community organization, was formed to address community environmental health concerns related to local industry. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati partnered with Save Our County to determine if air Mn had an impact on the neurocognitive function of children in the community.

Methods: Children 7-9 years of age from East Liverpool and its surrounding communities, were enrolled (N=106) in the Communities Actively Researching Exposure Study from between March 2013-June 2014. Blood and hair were analyzed for Mn and lead, and serum was analyzed for cotinine. We used linear regression to assess associations between biological measures and IQ subscale scores.

Results: Geometric mean blood lead (n=67), blood Mn (n=66), hair Mn (n=98), and serum cotinine (n=69) concentrations were 1.13±1.96μg/dL, 10.06±1.30μg/L, and 360.22±2.17ng/g, 0.76±6.12μg/L respectively. After adjusting for potential confounders, hair Mn was negatively associated with Full Scale IQ.

Conclusions: Hair Mn was negatively associated with child IQ scores. Community partners were instrumental in the conception and implementation of this study.

Keywords: Appalachia; Children; Community engagement; Environmental justice; Manganese.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Hair / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Manganese / metabolism*
  • Manganese Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Manganese Poisoning / metabolism
  • Manganese Poisoning / psychology
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders / chemically induced
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Ohio


  • Air Pollutants
  • Manganese