Professional welders play a critical role in modern society. Whether you weld parts for ships, trains, vehicles or anything else, you create the components that keep the economy moving. Unfortunately, though, when you are performing your job duties, you may be vulnerable to developing Parkinson’s disease.

A recent study found a causal link between welding materials and Parkinson’s. Specifically, researchers noted that individuals who work with manganese for extended periods may develop the neurological condition. If you fall ill after working as a welder, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the nervous system that affects movement and motor control. The disease is a progressive one, meaning symptoms worsen over time.

Typically, Parkinson’s begins with small trembles in the arms, hands, legs or face. Over time, though, you may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Lost muscular control
  • Slowed muscular movements
  • Slurred speech patterns
  • Diminished writing capabilities

While there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, doctors have a variety of therapies to help treat the illness. Nevertheless, even with regular doctor visits and rehabilitation, your overall health may continue to deteriorate after your Parkinson’s diagnosis.

What are the risks of working with manganese?

When you weld, the metals with which you work release fumes. Because most metals contain manganese, you may breathe in manganese fumes. These fumes may cause you to develop Parkinson’s disease.

Regrettably, you may be prone to Parkinson’s even if your manganese exposure falls within the current acceptable regulatory range. That is, even low levels of manganese fumes may increase your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

What can you do to protect yourself?

If you work as a welder, you must understand the risks of working with manganese and breathing in the element’s fumes. Wearing an appropriate respirator every time you weld may help.

Still, if you develop Parkinson’s disease, you are likely not to be able to perform your job duties. Applying for worker’s compensation benefits may give you a way to continue to provide for yourself and your family members during your illness.