Manganese, Like Other Heavy Metals, Robs Children of Their Potential

Steven G. Gilbert, PhD, DABT
CHE Partner
Director and Founder of the Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders

water pump in London
John Snow removed the pump handle to stop cholera in London. Should a similar precautionary approach be taken for elevated manganese levels in drinking water?

We have heard a lot about the adverse effects of lead, even at very low levels of exposure, on the intellectual development of children, and now there is further evidence that manganese exposure from drinking water causes similar harm to children. A new study by Maryse Bouchard and co-authors1 describes the adverse effects of manganese exposure from drinking water on childhood IQ. Manganese is a very interesting metal, widely distributed and occurring naturally in food and drinking water. It is a well-established neurotoxicant. Unlike lead, which has no known biological function, manganese is an essential nutrient and in trace amounts is necessary for growth and development. In industry, manganese is used to harden steel, and manganese fumes during welding are a work place hazard.

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