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Chemical Sampling Information (CSI)
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General Description

Synonyms: Nickel metal; Elemental nickel, Nickel catalyst; Nickel subsulfide; Raney nickel; Other synonyms vary depending upon the specific nickel compound

OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1840

Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7440-02-0 (Nickel); 12035-72-2 (Nickel subsulfide)

NIOSH Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances (RTECS) Identification Number: QR5950000

NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards - Nickel Metal and Other Compounds (as Ni): Physical description, chemical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Hazard Summary - Nickel Compounds: Uses, sources and potential exposure, acute and chronic health hazard information, and more



Exposure Limits and Health Effects

Exposure Limit

Limit Values*

HE Codes

Health Factors and Target Organs

OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) - General Industry
See 29 CFR 1910.1000 Table Z-1

1 mg/m3
TWA

HE2

Nasal, sinus, and lung cancers

HE15

Dermatitis

OSHA PEL - Construction Industry
See 29 CFR 1926.55 Appendix A

1 mg/m3
TWA

HE2

Nasal, sinus, and lung cancers

HE15

Dermatitis

OSHA PEL - Shipyard Employment
See 29 CFR 1915.1000 Table Z-Shipyards

1 mg/m3
TWA

HE2

Nasal, sinus, and lung cancers

HE15

Dermatitis

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL)

0.015 mg/m3 TWA

Ca

HE2

Lung and sinus cancers

HE15

Sensitization dermatitis, allergic skin rash

American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) (2001)

Elemental:
1.5 mg/m3 TWA

A5

HE10

Pneumoconiosis

HE15

Dermatitis

Insoluble compounds:
0.2 mg/m3 TWA

A1

HE2

Nasal and lung cancers

Nickel subsulfide:
 0.1 mg/m3 TWA

A1

HE2

Nasal and lung cancers

CAL/OSHA PELs

Metal:
0.5 mg/m3 TWA

Insoluble compounds:
0.1 mg/m3 TWA

HE2

Nasal, sinus, and lung cancers

* These values do not apply to nickel carbonyl.

National Toxicology Program (NTP) carcinogenic classification: Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen (metallic nickel); Known to be a human carcinogen (nickel compounds) [184 KB PDF, 4 pages]

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) carcinogenic classification: Group 2B [12 MB PDF, 189 pages] (possibly carcinogenic to humans [metallic nickel]); Group 1 [914 KB PDF, 50 pages] (carcinogenic to humans [nickel compounds])

EPA carcinogenic classification: Not listed

EPA Inhalation Reference Concentration (RfC): Not established

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Inhalation Minimal Risk Level (MRL): 0.0002 mg/m3 (intermediate); 0.00009 mg/m3 (chronic)

Notes on Other Potential Health Effects and Hazards

  1. EPA's reference dose (RfD) for nickel (soluble salts) is 0.02 mg/kg/day (EPA 2000).
  2. Nickel has also been shown to be toxic to the liver and kidneys (Rom 1992).
  3. Nickel is the most frequent metal that induces allergic contact sensitization (Zenz et al. 1994). Approximately 10 to20 percent of people are sensitive to nickel (ATSDR 2005).
  4. Most cases of sinonasal cancer associated with nickel exposure have occurred in nickel refinery workers, although a few have been reported in alkaline battery and cutlery workers (Sunderman 2001).
  5. Nickel exposure has been associated with work-related respiratory symptoms, including decreases in lung function in welders (Fishwick et al. 2004).

Date Last Revised: 9/6/2012

Literature Basis

  • ACGIH: Documentation of the Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) and Biological Exposure Indices (BEIs) - Nickel and Inorganic Compounds, including Nickel Subsulfide. 2001.
  • ATSDR: Toxicological Profile for Nickel [4 MB PDF, 397 pages]. August 2005.
  • California Occupational Safety & Health Standards Board: Initial [124 KB PDF, 19 pages] and Final [319cKB PDF, 55 pages] Statement of Reasons. August 3, 2010.
  • Fishwick, D., Bradshaw, L., Slater, T., Curran, A. and Pearce, N.: Respiratory symptoms and lung function change in welders: are they associated with workplace exposures? N. Z. Med. J. 117(1193): U872, 2004.
  • NIOSH: Occupational Health Guideline for Nickel Metal and Soluble Nickel Compounds. September 1978.
  • NIOSH: Criteria for a Recommended Standard - Occupational Exposure to Inorganic Nickel. May 1977.
  • NIOSH/IPCS: International Chemical Safety Cards - Nickel. October 17, 2001.
  • Rom, W.N. (ed.): Environmental and Occupational Medicine. 2nd ed. Boston, MA, Little, Brown and Company, p. 809. 1992.
  • Sunderman, F.W., Jr.: Nasal toxicity, carcinogenicity, and olfactory uptake of metals. Ann. Clin. Lab. Sci. 31(1): 3-24, 2001.
  • Zenz, C., O.B. Dickerson, E.P. Horvath. Occupational Medicine. 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO., p. 106, 1994.
Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method:
  • sampling media: Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns
    maximum volume: 960 Liters
    minimum volume: 480 Liters
    maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
    current analytical method: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; AAS
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-121)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    alternate analytical method: Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma; ICP-AES/MS
    method reference: OSHA Analytical Method (OSHA ID-125G, OSHA 1006)
    method classification: Fully Validated
    note: If the filter is not overloaded, samples may be collected up to an 8-hour period.

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