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Welding Rods and Exposure to Welding Gases

Jun 3, 2008
Welding is the joining of metals by applying heat, sometimes with pressure and sometimes with an intermediate or filler metal having a high melting point. The intermediate or filler metal that is used to join metals together is commonly referred to as a welding rod. Many welders use welding rods containing a high percentage of the element manganese.

Maganese is used in welding rods because it strengthens a metal as it is being fused by the welding process. When metals are heated and melted together, gas is produced. These welding gases are dangerous since welders are exposed to manganese when they breathe the fumes released in the air as rods are melted during welding operations. Manganese is a toxic element that passes quickly into the blood stream and tissues of the body.

Welders show a higher than normal average of manganese exposure. Manganese poisoning or exposure to high levels of manganese on a frequent basis or over long periods of time can lead to a disease known as manganism. Manganism is also known as welder's disease. Some of the symptoms of manganism are very similar to those of Parkinson's disease. As a result, manganism has been classified as a Parkinsonian syndrome.

Researchers found welders who had been exposed to manganese fumes in welding rods and materials were likely to develop side effects and symptoms of Parkinson's 15 years earlier than an average individual not exposed to welding rod fumes. Both scientists and manufacturers of welding rods have known that there was a higher incidence of Parkinson's disease and asthma among welders and other individuals exposed to manganese and other dangerous elements contained in welding rods. The manufacturers, however, failed to adequately warn of these ill effects, and for years have failed to instruct employers of welders on how they can keep their workers safe.

Health Effects of Welding Rod Fume Exposure

Manganese poisoning is one of the most documented of all complications caused by environmental toxins. Still, manufacturers continue to use manganese in welding rods and other applications, choosing to put profits before safety. Manganism is also known as Parkinson's Syndrome because its symptoms are very similar to Parkinson's Disease, a debilitating and incurable disease affecting the central nervous system and the important production of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

The symptoms of Parkinson's Syndrome include tremors affecting various parts of the upper body, reduction of facial expression, difficulty in locomotion, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty with speech.

Exposure to welding fumes can cause disorders of the central nervous system and neurological problems. Typical symptoms include tremors or shakiness, decreased movement or rigid muscles, loss of balance, joint and muscle pain, slow movement, sterility in men, short term memory problems, slow or slurred speech, hand stiffness and pain, and other neurological symptoms.
About the Author
For more information on welding rod litigation, visit http://welding-rod.legalview.com/. Also use the LegalView homepage at http://www.LegalView.com to browse other legal issues such as the the Erb's Palsy information portal or learn about the latest news regarding the Digitek digoxin recall.
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