Marietta has two to sixty times more manganese than federal health standard

Airborne manganese levels in a five-mile radius of the Eramet Marietta facility register two to sixty times higher than the U.S. EPA health standard, according to an Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry document dated June 18, 2007 entitled "Health Consultation." Residents within two miles of the fenceline and workers are exposed to at least ten times the manganese deemed safe by U.S. EPA.

The study further states that, "Current data indicate that current ambient concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, chromium and manganese have often exceeded agency and U.S. EPA health-based comparison values used for evaluating chronic exposures. Therefore, the four compounds have been identified as contaminants of concern. It should be noted that comparison values are intended to be conservative, and are often orders of magnitude lower than levels where health effects have been observed.”

EPA sets the current health-based comparison value for airborne manganese at .05 micrograms per cubic meter. Concentrations measured by agency air monitors in the Marietta area ranged from .1 to 3 micrograms per cubic meter.

Long term exposure to high levels of manganese by inhalation may result in central nervous system effects including disturbances in visual reaction time, hand steadiness, balance and eye-hand coordination. A syndrome named “manganism” may result from chronic exposure to higher levels; manganism is characterized by feelings of weakness and lethargy, tremors, a mask-like face, and psychological disturbances. Respiratory effects have also been noted in workers chronically exposed by inhalation. Impotence and loss of libido have been noted in male workers afflicted with manganism.