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Manganese in Water

Manganese is a mineral that, in very small amounts, is essential for proper functioning of the human body. It is a trace mineral present in the human body in small quantities, primarily in the bones, liver, kidneys and pancreas. Manganese is important in connective tissues, in the formation of bones and blood-clotting factors. It is also involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism, calcium absorption and blood sugar regulation. In addition, manganese is important for brain and nerve function. However, in higher concentrations, it can cause staining, pipe corrosion and possible health problems (for removal, see section below).  Evidence of manganese in water can often be seen inside dishwashers as a black residue as well as in toilets, sinks and shower stalls.

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Elevated Manganese

There are two forms of manganese in the environment: Inorganic and organic compounds. Inorganic compounds are used in the production of steel, batteries, ceramics and dietary supplements. These compounds are also generated as combustion products from motor vehicles and coal-burning industrial plants. Organic manganese compounds are used in some pesticides, fertilizers and in a gasoline additive called Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT). Manganese compounds can also be present as dust particles in the air and dissolved in groundwater or drinking water

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High Efficiency Water Softener


A water softener is effective in removing dissolved forms of manganese, iron and hardness minerals. To remove particulate manganese or iron, a cartridge filter with proper micron rating will be effective. Selecting the appropriate type of filter can be determined by a water treatment professional.

Manganese toxicity potential

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), manganese at very high levels can pose a neurotoxic risk.  Exposure to high concentrations over the course of several years has been associated with toxicity to the nervous system, producing a syndrome that resembles Parkinsonism. This type of effect may be more likely to occur in the elderly.

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Particulate Manganese

Higher risks for children

Children are considered to be particularly susceptible to possible effects of high levels of manganese exposure because they absorb more and excrete less manganese than adults. This adds up to a greater potential for exposure in the very young. Manganese’s effects on the developing nervous system have not been adequately studied to date. Therefore, it is especially prudent for pregnant women and young children to have drinking water that is below the EPA action level.  ATSDR reports several studies that showed decreased ability in neuro-behavioral performance testing and in several educational parameters in children exposed to high level of manganese in drinking water and diet for several years. To access our article published on manganese in Water Technology Magazine, see the link at http://publications/..


Some other affects of these contaminants include corrosion and scaling inside pipes.  Additionally, you may see staining in showers, bathtubs, and sinks . Hard water scale can also build-up inside hot water heaters. This can insulate the temperature sensor causing greater work to bring the temperature up to the set level. This will reduce the useful life of your hot water heater and require early replacement. For those using their well water for outside lawn irrigation, iron and manganese can cause major staining of outside walkways, house siding and anyplace the water touches. See the link at http://lawn-irrigation/.

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H2O Care is a full service water filtration and testing organization, originally formed in 1989, based in Middleton, MA off route 114 with additional offices in Stow & Lakeville, MA. See our published articles in Water Technology Magazines at publications. Reach us at [email protected] or 978-777-8330.