Welders and other metalworkers in California may not be aware of the effects that welding fumes can have on the body. Most welding fumes contain a small amount of the metal manganese, which, while normally produced by the body’s dietary system, can be harmful if inhaled.
Exposure to manganese dust often occurs during ore-crushing, metallurgical operations and mining, along with during the manufacture and production of certain items like dry-cell batteries and pesticides. Working with manganese in an enclosed area can cause more exposure. This exposure can often cause neurological and neurobehavioral issues.
Studies have shown that low levels of manganese exposure in some workers correlates to poor performance on tests of brain function and motor skills, including hand-eye coordination, reaction time and short-term memory. Damage to the lungs, kidney and liver is also possible with excessive levels of manganese accumulation. Male workers who are affected also have a higher risk of infertility, and higher levels of manganese exposure could also lead to manganism, a syndrome similar to Parkinson’s disease, as well as Parkinson’s-like symptoms, including tremors, poor balance and muscle rigidity.
A worker who has become ill as a result of manganese inhalation may wonder what remedies may be available. A lawyer could help the worker to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits that can include the provision of necessary medical treatment as well as a percentage of wages that were lost due to the illness. In the event that the claim is disputed or denied, an attorney may be able to provide representation during the subsequent appeals process.