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What is welding rod disease and what do I do if I get it?

We've noted on more than one occasion about the proliferation of pipelines in Texas. They crisscross the state on a scale that seems to be almost as grand as the road system.

For every stretch of pipe there are joints and at every joint there are welds. The pipeline workers who make those welds and then go back over the lines maintaining them for years on end provide a critical service to us all. They face a lot of work hazards that could result in serious or even deadly injury. What readers may not appreciate is the risk they also may face from what some call welding rod disease. It's like Parkinson's disease.

Pipe welders run a danger of contracting welding rod disease just from doing their job. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the source of the illness is manganese, something that is emitted in the fumes created in the welding process.

While manganese is an essential nutrient, welding can create exposure situations that can cause an overload that the body can't get handle and the result can be an array of medical conditions. These can include lung problems, but prolonged exposure to high manganese concentrations from welding can also increase the risk of infertility in men.

Of perhaps even greater concern is manganism. This is a form of nerve damage that can trigger Parkinson's disease-like symptoms. Tremors in the face, hands, arms and legs are not uncommon. In some cases it may present as slowed mobility, muscle stiffness and poor balance. Some research suggests manganese exposure can also cause emotional problems and dementia.

The risk of welding accidents and illness on the job is something that workers must face, but injuries and illnesses aren't something they have to simply live with. If you or a loved one suffer from a welding accident or illness due to employer negligence, you have a right to consult an attorney about your right to seek due compensation.

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