Manganese is an element which is wide-spread in the Earth’s crust. It occurs in the form of different compounds. Most iron ores contain manganese. It is used for alloys for the production of batteries, chemical compounds, glass, in textile and leather industry, as a fertilizer. Atmospheric air pollution is of anthropogenous origin and is associated with the industries in which it is applied. Manganese aerosols precipitate close to their source.
Manganese penetrates human organism through respiration and to a smaller extent through food and potable water.
Manganese penetrating the human organism through air, even in highly polluted areas, rarely exceeds 1% of the daily amount of absorbed metal.
The highest manganese concentrations in man are those in the liver, kidneys, endocrine glands, and intestines. The main way of elimination is through the bile.
Manganese is a basic bio-element, and is a component of a number of enzymes. At very high exposure, which might occur in a working environment the toxic effect of manganese is mainly neurological and it provokes a disease similar to Parkinson’s disease, called manganese disease. Exposure to a working environment with manganese content of over 5 mg/m3 may cause pneumonia. For population living in regions of manganese production more frequent occurrence of acute bronchitis is witnessed if the exposure exceeds 1 mg/m3.
Manganese is both essential (i.e. bio-element) and toxic at high concentrations. The toxic action affects the central nervous system and the lungs. The WHO believes that the critical level of atmospheric pollution exposure is 1 mg/m3. No adverse effects are likely to occur below such level.
The following limit values for the content of manganese and its compounds in the atmospheric air, calculated on the basis of MnO2 are set by our legislation Regulation No. 14 (State Gazette No. 88/1997, amended SG No. 46/1999, amended and supplemented, SG No. 8/2002):