Manganism Information

Manganese poisoning is referred to as manganism, the result of excessive or prolonged exposure to manganese. When the human body absorbs a large amount of manganese there is a toxic effect, resulting in serious health conditions and diseases. Sometimes people use manganism and Parkinson’s disease to describe the same adverse manganese effect due to the similarity of the conditions. Manganese has a very long elimination from the central nervous system so the effects of manganism are not always immediately evident.

Miners are considered to be at the highest risk for developing manganism. There are three different stages that are differentiated in manganism, including behavioral changes, parkinsonian features, and dystonia and gait disturbances. The onset of manganism can be observed through symptoms of fatigue, headache, muscle cramps, loss of appetite, apathy, insomnia, and a diminished libido.

Other symptoms of manganism can include:

  • muscle stiffness
  • weakness
  • tremors
  • breathing and swallowing problems

Welders, factory workers, and communities in areas of high manganese industry are also at an increased risk for developing manganism. Workplace hazards are considered the highest risk for developing manganism so understanding how to follow workplace standards to reduce risk is especially important to ensuring the well being of individuals that work closely with the dangerous element. Communities that exist in areas where manganese is released into the air will have a higher risk for manganism.

Unfortunately, manganism signs are similar to many other non-occupational diseases and can be disregarded or have delayed diagnosis because of this. In addition, regular physicians are not adequately trained to recognize signs of manganism and may attribute signs and symptoms of it to something else. People are exposed to manganese everyday in the air, soil, water, and food but at levels recommended to be less than 11 mg daily.

Federal safety guidelines have been established to protect the workers from toxic levels of exposure that can cause manganism and employers that fail to properly institute these guidelines are risking the health of everyone working in the conditions.

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