Welding is vital to our infrastructure, but is an extremely dangerous profession for the workers who provide this valuable service. They risk suffering serious injuries, such as vision and hearing loss, brain damage, electrical shocks, and dangerous burns. One of the most traumatic medical conditions welders can develop is the early onset of Parkinson’s disease.
Welders’ Parkinson’s disease can be caused by exposure to toxic levels of manganese in the fumes that are created during the welding process. Manganese has been linked to Parkinson’s disease for decades, and studies are showing a link between welding and the development of this medical condition.
Seven Symptoms of Welders’ Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a condition that impairs the motor system, which controls a person’s movements and physical functions. It is caused by the loss of brain cells that produce the chemical messenger dopamine, resulting in a person not being able to control his physical movements. Symptoms of this disorder include:
- Tremors in the person’s hands, legs, arms, and face
- Stiffness and abnormal slowness of the muscles in the person’s arms and legs
- Loss of smell
- Problems sleeping
- Difficulty with balance, coordination, and walking
- Problems with speaking clearly without slurring words and hesitating
- Dementia and depression
Parkinson’s disease can develop gradually in welders, and the symptoms will worsen over time. While some people remain mentally alert, others can experience significant memory problems. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disorder. A welder who develops this condition will experience life-long changes to his abilities to perform day-to-day activities and will become permanently disabled as the disease progresses.
If you are a welder who developed Parkinson’s disease, you may need expensive medical treatments and suffer a long-term loss of your wages.
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