April 19, 2013
Chronic exposure to manganese oxide fumes, which occur when manganese metal is heated and reacts with oxygen, can lead to damage to the central nervous system. Welders are especially susceptible to this disease, called maganism by the National Institutes of Health, because manganese is found in many welding rods and filler metals to promote hardness. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists recently issued guidance that dramatically reduced suggested threshold limit values. Because many metal fabricators use this guidance to manage worker exposure, they now are having to rethink how they approach personal protective equipment.