Objective: To characterize the association between residential environmental manganese (Mn) exposure and depression and anxiety, given prior associations among occupationally-exposed workers. Methods: We administered the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) to 697 study participants in their preferred languages. These participants represented a population-based sample of residents aged ≥40 from two predominantly Black African communities in Gauteng province, South Africa: 605 in Meyerton, adjacent to a large Mn smelter, and 92 in Ethembalethu, a comparable non-exposed community. We investigated the associations between community (Meyerton vs. Ethembalethu) and severity of depression and anxiety, using linear regression, adjusting for age and sex. To document community-level differences in Mn exposure, we measured airborne PM2.5-Mn. Results: Meyerton residents had BDI scores 5.63 points (95 % CI 3.07, 8.20) higher than Ethembalethu residents, with all questions contributing to this significant difference. STAI-state scores were marginally higher in Meyerton than Ethembalethu residents [2.12 (95 % CI -0.17, 4.41)], whereas STAI-trait scores were more similar between the communities [1.26 (95 % CI -0.82, 3.35)]. Mean PM2.5-Mn concentration was 203 ng/m3 at a long-term fixed site in Meyerton and 10 ng/m3 in Ethembalethu. Conclusion: Residence near Mn emission sources may be associated with greater depression symptomatology, and possibly current, but not lifetime, anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-233
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Beck depression inventory
  • Manganese
  • PM2.5-Mn
  • South Africa
  • State-trait anxiety inventory


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