The relationship between the degree of exposure and biological effects of manganese was studied in a group of 369 workers employed in the production of ferroalloys. Two other groups of workers, from an electrode plant and from an aluminium rolling mill, served as controls. Mean manganese concentrations at work places where ferroalloys were produced varied from 0-301 to 20-442 mg/m3. The exposure level of the two control groups was from 2 to 30 microgram/m3 and from 0-05 to 0-07 microgram/m3, in the electrode plant and rolling mill respectively. Sixty-two (16-8%) manganese alloy workers showed some signs of neurological impairment. These signs were noticeably less in the two control groups (5-8% and 0%) than in the occupationally exposed group. Subjective symptoms, which are nonspecific but may be symptoms of subclinical manganism, were not markedly different in the three groups. However, in the manganese alloy workers some of the subjective symptoms occurred more frequently in heavier smokers than in light smokers or nonsmokers. Heavier smokers engaged in manganese alloy production showed some of the subjective symptoms more often than heavier smokers from the control groups.
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