Like many naturally occurring elements, manganese can be beneficial in very small doses, especially when paired with other types of vitamins or minerals. However, too much manganese can be toxic and lead to serious health complications in some people, including neurodevelopmental problems. For that reason, many environmental safety advocates want stronger regulations surrounding the testing of well water.
Manganese is plentiful and found across the globe. When mined, manganese can be useful in many manufacturing processes. Manganese is found in the soil, but it also occurs in numerous nutritious foods, such as rice, eggs, and spinach.
Scientists have determined that humans need a certain level of manganese in their diets to function and develop normally. Proper dosages of manganese helps strengthen bones, as well as supports growth of the body’s connective tissues. For this reason, individuals need to make sure they eat foods that are rich in a variety of nutrients, including manganese.
However, too much manganese can be toxic. In fact, manganese has been linked to some serious health problems in children and adults. For instance, one scientific study showed that high amounts of manganese in children led to higher incidences of poor brain functioning, including memory and concentration problems. Similarly, manganese is shown to exacerbate symptoms in young children who already have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Under normal conditions, most people will not ingest enough manganese to experience adverse effects. The exception to this rule is individuals and families who drink well water. Since well water comes from the ground rather than a processing plant, it may be contaminated with high levels of manganese and other environmental contaminants.
Although bathing or washing with manganese-heavy water is not harmful to humans, drinking the water can lead to significant, long-term, irreversible health issues. It should be noted that manganese tends to be found alongside arsenic in the soil. Therefore, well water that contains arsenic may also contain manganese.
Currently, manganese is not listed as a significant water contaminant. This means that water testing facilities check for manganese, but not as a primary contaminant source. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 300 micrograms per liter of manganese is the limit for manganese in potable water.
Many environmentalists and scientists have recommended that manganese be considered a risky contaminant that can pose a threat to humans, particularly children. Therefore, a new study is being conducted to determine whether manganese contamination is problematic and what can be done to reduce high levels.
The study on manganese will focus on whether or not children from communities that receive water from private, shallow wells are testing academically at lower rates than other children. The study aims to determine if there is a link between manganese ingestion and reduced neurodevelopment.
If a link is established, advocates for clean water may have more fodder to push government entities into labeling manganese as a primary contaminant.
A simple test can indicate if well water contains toxic levels of manganese. Also, manganese dyes water an orange or rust color. The water tends to stain laundry and other items, and may even leave a stained ring in bathtubs and sinks. Therefore, homeowners whose water tends to be dark in color may want to get it tested for manganese.
It is possible to remove manganese from private well water through the installation of a home-based water purification system. Consequently, homeowners and landlords should take the time to get their well water tested, and then take appropriate steps to remove any lingering manganese from the groundwater pipes into their homes.
People who learn that their drinking water has high concentrations of manganese may not be able to install water purification systems right away. To avoid drinking manganese contaminated water, they should stock up on bottled water. The bottled water should be used for all food preparation in addition to drinking. Boiling water with manganese is not suggested, as boiling may actually increase the concentration levels of manganese.
Washing dirty dishes with manganese-heavy water has not been shown to be problematic. Nevertheless, the manganese may dye certain dishware or plastics a slightly brown color.
Parents who believe their children have been exposed to consistently high doses of manganese have options. First, a parent may want to schedule an appointment with their primary care physician as a preventive measure. A doctor can test a child to determine if the child is performing, achieving, and growing at typical levels. An abnormal test result may be a reason for a parent to consider working with a lawyer to file a claim against the owner of the private well, such as a landlord.
Some families were successful in winning settlements based on their long-term intake of contaminated water. If a family believes that their water source has high, toxic levels of manganese, they should contact an attorney right away. Water contamination can cause serious health issues, and an attorney will evaluate the case and determine the best course of action.
In high doses, manganese may cause adverse side effects. If you are a parent and you believe your child is being affected by toxic levels of manganese, contact a lawyer right away. Our Wilmington environmental lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. protect victims sickened by contaminated water. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 302-656-5445. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.