NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals
927Z1LH - Manganese-Associated Parkinsonism in Welders: FeasibilityStart Date: 10/1/2005
End Date: 9/30/2009
Principal Investigator (PI)Name: Robert Park
Funded By: NIOSH
Primary Goal Addressed9.0
Secondary Goal AddressedNone
Attributed to Manufacturing50%
This project will establish the feasibility of, and a specific plan for, an investigation of manganism in arc welders. Employers with appropriate populations and records will be identified and their cooperation invited for the conduct of a full investigation. The ultimate result of this investigation would be a statistical model for the development of cognitive and Parkinson-like motor neurological deficits resulting from manganese exposure possibly including genetic risk factors, and a risk assessment which will disclose whether new regulatory requirements and production practices are needed.
The goal of this project is to identify and gain access to an appropriate population for meaningful investigation, and to develop a proposal for such an investigation. Enquiries will be made to employers utilizing arc welding on a large scale and to other organizations that have an interest in such forms of production. The target industries will include shipbuilding, bridge construction, and construction in the chemical, petrochemical and power-generation sectors. Organizations will include the US Navy, which contracts with many such employers, and possibly various trade associations that may have an interest in establishing reliable knowledge about risks from manganese. With a small group of willing candidate employers, further investigation will attempt to establish a) the size and demographics of available arc welder and comparison populations, b) the attributes of record systems pertaining to work history, production documentation, retrospective exposure assessment, and medical history (insurance claims, disability), and c) the feasibility of conducting neurobehavioral assessments and further medical evaluations on a sample of the proposed study population. A formal study proposal will be developed for a population appropriate for this investigation and one for which the employer is prepared to cooperate in such an investigation. A proposal will be sought which is acceptable to the employer, interested trade associations and associated workers' organizations.
This project will establish the feasibility of an investigation of parkinsonism in arc welders. Employers with appropriate populations and records will be identified and their cooperation invited for the conduct of a full investigation. The immediate product of this effort will be a formal proposal for a full investigation which is acceptable to the parties involved and which will be peer-reviewed by reviewers from NIOSH and outside NIOSH.
This project is intended to address an emerging concern over the development of neurological deficits in relation to exposures to manganese arising from arc welding activities. Although compelling case reports have appeared, very little adequate descriptive or analytical epidemiology exists addressing the actual risks of developing Parkinson-like neurological deficits in relation to levels and durations of prior exposures to manganese. The goal of this project is to identify and gain access to an appropriate population for meaningful investigation, and to develop a proposal for such an investigation. The ultimate goal of the resulting project would be to identify exposure levels and time courses of exposure that lead to clinically significant impairment and that would support a quantitative risk assessment. A secondary goal is assess the importance of genetic variability in Mn-related health effects. The result would indicate whether current welding practices using high-Mn alloys and welding rods are placing workers at unacceptable risk and would support recommendations for further regulation, if needed. This project contributes to the following sectors: