Because previous studies suggest that welders frequently display parkinsonian signs, such as bradykinesia and tremor, our team is interested in studying parkinsonism in welders.

In one specific study, we looked at the effects of parkinsonism on the health status in welding exposed workers. After recruiting active workers who are exposed to welding fumes, we collected and analyzed a Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptom questionnaire. We found that parkinsonism in active, welding exposed workers is associated with reductions in health status and quality of life affecting a broad range of categories and within the range seen in early PD.

We have also studied the prevalence of parkinsonism in welders in Alabama and compared this prevalence with that in a general population sample. After screening welders from Alabama who were referred for medical-legal evaluation and estimating the prevalence of parkinsonism, we found that the estimated prevalence of parkinsonism was higher within a sample of male Alabama welders vs the general population of male residents of Copiah County, MS.

In another study, our team assessed the validity and test-retest reliability of a medical and occupational history questionnaire for workers performing welding in the shipyard industry. After developing the questionnaire and collecting responses from participants, we found that participants’ self-report for job title and dates employed are valid compared with employer records and that participants generated reproducible answers important for occupational exposure assessment.