Washington University study raises welding safety concerns

     (AP) – A new study by Washington University in St. Louis researchers

has found that current safety standards to protect welders from harmful fumes

may be inadequate.

     Dr. Brad A. Racette, senior author of the study, tells the St. Louis

Post-Dispatch the research showed that the more exposure one had to airborne

manganese, the greater the progression of parkinsonism, a neurological condition

that causes tremors, muscle stiffness and other movement abnormalities.

     The study examined nearly 900 welders at two shipyards and one heavy-machinery

fabrication shop in the Midwest.

     A spokesman from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the

federal agency responsible for workplace safety, said in an email that its

current thresholds don’t protect welders and that employers should ensure that

workplace manganese exposure levels are well below the federal standard.


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