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Permanent disability: Welding can cause Parkinson's disease

Workers in Colorado are likely aware of the fact that they can claim insurance benefits after suffering work-related injuries. However, not all employees know that workplace illnesses can cause permanent disability, which also entitles them to workers' compensation benefits. The medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology recently published the findings of a study about Parkinson's disease in welders.

Parkinson's disease includes a variety of symptoms such as stiffness and slow movement. After studying 866 employees exposed to welding fumes in manufacturing plants of heavy machinery, the results indicated a high rate of manganese exposure. Researchers found that such exposure causes a group of disorders associated with particular movement problems.

The researchers suggested that action be taken to improve protection and assessment of welders to limit the occurrence of the disabling disease. The report indicated that flux core arc welders who worked in confined spaces showed higher levels of manganese and particulate matter in their bodies than other welders. Disease-like symptoms consistent with Parkinson's were observed in these workers, including slow arm and hand movement, leg and arm stiffness, reduced facial expressions and speech problems.

Sadly, employees may leave the workforce when they suffer these symptoms without realizing that the permanent disability it is a work-related disease. They are entitled to Colorado workers' compensation benefits, but they will need medical records to justify their benefits claims. Proving the condition is work-related may be challenging. However, the help of an experienced workers' compensation attorney is available to assist with obtaining motivating reports from medical providers. A skilled lawyer can help with the administrative and legal proceedings and even with the appeals process if a benefits claim is denied.

Source: news-medical.ne, "Welders can develop Parkinson's disease-like symptoms that get worse with exposure", Dec. 29, 2016

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