The second lawsuit in six months against welding-rod manufacturers has began in federal court in Cleveland (USA) with lawyers debating over who is to blame for neurological problems suffered by welders.

In the lawsuit two South Carolina men sued five companies, including Lincoln Electric Holdings, claiming the fumes released by welding rods the businesses manufactured caused the men to get sick.

Nearly 4000 similar cases from across the country have been consolidated in U.S. District Court in Cleveland but so far only one case has been successfully litigated in the US. In 2003 the 5th Appellate Court upheld a one million dollar Madison County verdict in favour of a Collinsville man\\$quot;s claim that manganese in welding rods caused his Parkinson\\$quot;s disease.

Again in June this year, a jury ruled that Lincoln Electric and three other companies were not liable for the illness of a Texas welder.

In the current case, the two men who both worked for more than 20 years as welders for Duke Power claim they have manganism because of the fumes they inhaled while welding with rods made by Lincoln Electric, Hobart Bros, TDY Industries, BOC Group and ESAB Group.

But lawyers for the welding-rod manufacturers said there is no conclusive link between the fumes and illness. Additionally lawyer Richard Sarver says there's no proof that more detailed warnings would have led the two to weld any differently.