Can welding fumes cause potential neurological damage?

Welding is an important skill that is highly desired in numerous industries here in Michigan. This ability to join metal together can lead to a very satisfying and well paying career. However, like many jobs, welding may also cause workers’ injuries including potential neurological damage. But exactly what kind of neurological damage is associated with welding?

The main source of potential damage from welding comes from toxic exposure to the fumes that are released while welding. Welding rods and flux release small amounts of the metal manganese during the process. And while manganese is a mineral that the human body needs, getting it by breathing welding vapors is not beneficial. Breathing it in is not the same as swallowing a vitamin that contains the mineral. Breathing manganese allows it to circumvent many of the body’s natural defenses.

By avoiding the body’s defenses, manganese can begin to build up in the body. If too much of the metal accumulates, it can actually harm many of the organs in the body, such as the kidneys, the lungs, the liver and even the central nervous system. Studies have also found that workers exposed to too much manganese can suffer from fertility problems.

Besides welding, workers in other industries can be exposed to manganese as well. These can include the mining industry, where exposure can occur when ore is crushed. Workers who work with dyes, inks and other types of pigments can find themselves exposed to the mineral as well.

A workplace injury is not restricted only to a part of the body that is hurt on the job. It can also come from exposure to toxic materials like manganese. Any Michigan worker who has been diagnosed with exposure to a toxic material may want to speak with a work injury attorney after receiving the proper medical care in order to find out what legal options are available to them.

Source:, “Welding and Manganese: potential neurological effects,” Accessed Sep. 27, 2015