What is Manganese?

Manganese (chemical formula: Mn), is a steely-grey coloured, lustrous, hard and brittle metal. Manganese is soluble in dilute acid. The Earth’s crust is made up of approximately 0.1% manganese.

What is Manganese used for?

Manganese is used to manufacture metals such as steel, aluminum, copper, nickel and iron—improving their resistance to corrosion. It is estimated that 90% of the global consumption of manganese can be attributed to the production of steel. 

Manganese is also used in the manufacture of batteries, glass, bricks, textiles, tiles, coins  and gasoline.

The addition of manganese allows aluminum cans to be thin, while remaining strong
The addition of manganese allows aluminum cans to be thin, while remaining strong

Manganese is also an essential mineral that is required for the body to function normally. Individuals suffering from a deficiency can supplement their diet with manganese rich foods including whole grains, mussels, clams, potatoes, tofu, nuts, beans, leafy green vegetables and brown rice to name a few. 

Manganese Hazards

The routes of exposure for manganese include inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. 

Manganese is not normally thought to produce respiratory irritation, however, inhalation of dusts or fumes may still produce respiratory discomfort and distress. Individuals with already compromised respiratory function (conditions such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis) and circulatory/nervous system damage, may suffer further disability upon inhalation. Symptoms may include sudden thirst, a sweet or foul taste in the mouth, coughing, headaches, nausea, vomiting, fever or chills, sweating, diarrhoea and excessive urination. 

Ingestion of manganese may be damaging to the health of the individual, however it is not normally a hazard due to the physical form of the chemical. Manganese is a physical irritant to the gastrointestinal tract, but poisonings rarely occur because they are poorly absorbed in the gut. 

Skin contact with manganese is not thought to be a skin irritant, however good hygiene practices are still recommended to ensure exposure is kept to a minimum. Other harmful effects may result upon entry into the bloodstream through open cuts or wounds.

Direct eye contact may cause tearing, redness and slight abrasive damage.

Manganese Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source and lay the patient down, ensuring they are warm and rested. If the patient is not breathing and you are qualified to do so, perform CPR. Seek immediate medical attention. 

If swallowed, do not induce vomiting. If vomiting does occur, lean the patient forward or place them on their left side to maintain open airways and prevent aspiration. Give them water to rinse their mouth out and provide as much as they can comfortably drink. Seek medical attention. 

If skin exposure occurs, cleanse the affected area with plenty of soap and water. Seek medical attention in the event of irritation. 

If the chemical is exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Removal of contact lenses should only be done by a skilled individual. Do not attempt to remove any particles attached to or embedded in the eye. Seek urgent medical attention.

Manganese Safety Handling

Emergency eyewash fountains should be accessible in the immediate area of the potential exposure to the chemical and adequate ventilation should be available (local exhaust should be installed if necessary).

The PPE recommended when handling manganese includes safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, PVC gloves (thickness >0.35mm is recommended), overalls, full body protective suits and safety footwear. Skin cleansing and barrier creams are also recommended in the event of skin exposure. 

Handling manganese can come with several risks—ensure you refer to your SDS for comprehensive information, essential for the safe handling of the chemical. If you require SDS Management Software, click here for a FREE trial or contact us at to see how we can help.