Environmental exposure to manganese in air: Associations with tremor and motor function

Rosemarie M. Bowler, Cheryl L. Beseler, Vihra V. Gocheva, Michelle Colledge, Erica S. Kornblith, Jaime R. Julian, Yangho Kim, George Bollweg, Danelle T. Lobdell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Manganese (Mn) inhalation has been associated with neuropsychological and neurological sequelae in exposed workers. Few environmental epidemiologic studies have examined the potentially neurotoxic effects of Mn exposure in ambient air on motor function and hand tremor in adult community residents. Mn exposed residents were recruited in two Ohio towns: Marietta, a town near a ferro-manganese smelter, and East Liverpool, a town adjacent to a facility processing, crushing, screening, and packaging Mn products. Methods: Chronic (≥. 10 years) exposure to ambient air Mn in adult residents and effects on neuropsychological and neurological outcomes were investigated. Participants from Marietta (n. = 100) and East Liverpool (n. = 86) were combined for analyses. AERMOD dispersion modeling of fixed-site outdoor air monitoring data estimated Mn inhalation over a ten year period. Adult Mn-exposed residents' psychomotor ability was assessed using Finger Tapping, Hand Dynamometer, Grooved Pegboard, and the Computerized Adaptive Testing System (CATSYS) Tremor system. Bayesian structural equation modeling was used to assess associations between air-Mn and motor function and tremor. Results: Air-Mn exposure was significantly correlated in bivariate analyses with the tremor test (CATSYS) for intensity, center frequency and harmonic index. The Bayesian path analysis model showed associations of air-Mn with the CATSYS non-dominant center frequency and harmonic index; while the Bayesian structural equation model revealed associations between air-Mn and lower Finger Tapping scores. Household income was significantly associated with motor dysfunction but not with tremor. Conclusion: Tremor and motor function were associated with higher exposure to airborne Mn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)646-654
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Jan 15 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Adult residents
  • Environment
  • Manganese
  • Neurotoxicity
  • Psychomotor
  • Tremor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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