Welding might be a hobby you've been tempted to try. With temperatures up to 11,000 degrees, you might expect to buy protective gloves, a bib, and special shoes. Now, a Mayo Clinic Study shows that it may be even more important for welders to protect their breathing.
They found the chemicals that escape from various metals collect inside a part of the brain that controls movement. "It's clear there are all sorts of toxic fumes given off by welding, and manganese is one of them," says Dr. Patrick Bosque, a neurologist.
Manganese is what doctors at the Mayo Clinic found accumulating deep within the brain of welders, in the same area that Parkinson's Disease leaves its mark. Parkinson's type problems have been linked to welding before, but for the first time, researchers have found MRI evidence that confirms it. This MRI shows manganese collecting in the same area that Parkinson's strikes and coincidentally, those welders in the study were showing the same kind of tremors as Parkinson's patients.
That's not to say welding causes Parkinsons disease, but the Mayo Clinic study emphasizes the need for welders to wear masks when they work, and avoid welding in confined spaces where there is not good ventilation.