Welding Rods Linked to Early Onset of Parkinson's disease; Pennsylvania Men Sue Manufacturers

Dec 15, 2003, 00:00 ET from Roda & Nast, P.C.

    PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Philadelphia welders, Lester Davis
 and Ronald King, filed a class action lawsuit against 21 national
 manufacturers of welding products yesterday.  Among the defendants are Radnor-
 based Airgas and Pittsburgh-based TDY Industries, Inc.  Davis and King allege
 that welding rods create harmful fumes that can lead to personal injuries such
 as Manganism and Parkinson's disease.
     The case was filed in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.  The
 lawsuit was filed jointly by Dianne M. Nast and Daniel N. Gallucci of Roda &
 Nast, P.C., Lancaster, and James J. McHugh and Scott D. Levensten of The
 Beasley Firm, Philadelphia, attorneys for Davis and King.
     The complaint alleges that the element Manganese is found in toxic levels
 in the fumes created when welding rods are used to weld together two pieces of
 metal.  Exposure to Manganese has been linked to the early onset of
 Parkinson's disease and Manganism.
     A 2001 study performed by the Washington University School of Medicine in
 St. Louis found that welders who participated in the study developed
 Parkinson's disease an average of 15 years earlier than non-welders who
 developed Parkinson's disease.
     The complaint alleges that exposure to the toxins in welding fumes,
 including high levels of Manganese, can damage the central nervous system and
 cause neurological problems.  Other disorders caused by the toxins in welding
 fumes include manganese poisoning, and Manganism, according to the complaint.
     If the court certifies the case as a class action, Davis and King will
 represent a class of welders who have personal injuries or who are at risk for
 developing Parkinson's disease and other Manganese-related diseases as a
 result of exposure to fumes from welding rods.
     Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder that is characterized by
 slowness of movement and tremors that affect one side of the body more than
 the other.  Other symptoms of Parkinson's disease include stiff muscles,
 speech problems, and problems with walking and balance.  Manganism has similar
 symptoms to those of Parkinson's disease.

SOURCE Roda & Nast, P.C.