Incorporating genetics and genomics in risk assessment for inhaled manganese: From data to policy

Christine P. Curran, Robert M. Park, Shuk mei Ho, Erin N. Haynes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Manganese is an essential nutrient, and a healthy human with good liver and kidney function can easily excrete excess dietary manganese. Inhaled manganese is a greater concern, because it bypasses the body's normal homeostatic mechanisms and can accumulate in the brain. Prolonged exposure to high manganese concentrations (>1 mg/m3) in air leads to a Parkinsonian syndrome known as "manganism." Of greatest concern are recent studies which indicate that neurological and neurobehavioral deficits can occur when workers are exposed to much lower levels (<0.2 mg/m3) of inhaled manganese in welding fumes. Consequently, researchers at NIOSH are conducting a risk assessment for inhaled manganese. Novel components of this risk assessment include an attempt to quantify the range of inter-individual differences using data generated by the Human Genome Project and experimental work to identify genetically based biomarkers of exposure, disease and susceptibility. The difficulties involved in moving from epidemiological and in vivo data to health-based quantitative risk assessment and ultimately enforceable government standards are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-760
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge stipend support for postdoctoral research under the National Research Council's Research Apprenticeship Program and pilot research funding from the NIOSH Education and Information Division and Risk Evaluation Branch. We thank our colleagues Dr. Kristi Haik, Dr. Janelle Crossgrove and Dr. Glenn Talaska for their helpful comments and careful review of this manuscript. Disclaimer : The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


  • DNA
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetic susceptibility
  • Manganese
  • Occupational health
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Toxicology


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