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Nickel, Soluble Compounds (as Ni)

General Description

  • Synonyms: Nickel metal: Elemental nickel, Nickel catalyst; Nickel subsulfide; Other synonyms vary depending upon the specific nickel compound
  • OSHA IMIS Code Number: 1842
  • Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Registry Number: 7440-02-0
  • 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): chemical description, physical properties, potentially hazardous incompatibilities, and more

Exposure Limits

  • OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL):
  • American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV): Soluble inorganic compounds (NOS) - 0.1 mg/m3 TWA, Inhalable fraction*, Appendix A4 - Not Classifiable as a Human Carcinogen* - see Appendix C, paragraph A. [TLVs listed under Nickel, as Ni]
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL): 0.015 mg/m3 TWA; Appendix A - NIOSH Potential Occupational Carcinogens; (Does not apply to Nickel Carbonyl)

Health Factors

  • Carcinogenic Classification:
  • NIOSH Immediately Dangerous To Life or Health Concentration (IDLH): 10 mg/m3 (as Ni)
  • Potential Symptoms: Acute/chronic skin exposure: urticaria, contact dermatitis. Acute ingestion: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, fatigue, cough, shortness of breath, proteinuria, hematologic abnormalities. Acute airborne exposure: eye, nose, throat irritation; cough, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, headache; pulmonary edema (severe exposure). Chronic airborne exposure: asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, rhinitis, pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer, nasal/sinus cancer.
  • Health Effects: carcinogen (HE2), contact dermatitis (HE3), possible reproductive toxin (see Notes), asthma (HE9), pulmonary fibrosis (HE10), pulmonary edema with high airborne exposure (HE11), eye/nose/throat/skin irritation (HE15).
  • Affected Organs: Lung, Skin, Upper Respiratory Tract (nose, sinuses), Gastrointestinal (oral exposure), Immune system (allergy).
  • Notes:
    1. Reproductive and teratogenic effects have been found in multiple animal studies, including low birth weights, stillbirths, birth defects, neonatal deaths, testicular and sperm damage 1, 3, 4, 6. There are few human studies. A Russian study 2 found an increase in spontaneous abortions and birth defects in nickel refinery workers compared to a control group. However, a case-control study of refinery workers in Norway 8 did not find an increased risk of spontaneous abortion. More studies are needed.
    2. Nickel and nickel compounds are being used in nanotechnology. Nickel-containing nanoparticles may have adverse health effects, particularly to the lung. A study of metal oxide nanoparticles 5 significant inflammation when rat lungs were exposed to nanosize nickel oxide particles.
  • Literature Basis:
    1. ATSDR Toxicological Profiles - Nickel. Updated August, 2005. (accessed 7/1/09)
    2. Chashschin VP, Artunina GP, Norseth T. Congential defects, abortion and other health effects in nickel refinery workers. Science Total Environ, 1994; 148:287-91.
    3. Das KK, Das SN, Dhundasi SA. Nickel, its adverse health effects & oxidative stress. Indian J Med Res, 2008; 128:412-25. (good review)
    4. EPA IRIS, Nickel, soluble salts (CASRN Various). Last updated 1/10/08. (accessed 6/9/09)
    5. Lu S, Duffin R, Poland C, Daly P, Murphy F, Drost E, MacNee W, Stone V, Donaldson K. Efficacy of simple short-term in vitro assays for predicting the potential of metal oxide nanoparticles to cause pulmonary inflammation. Environ Health Persp, 2009; 117:241-7.
    6. Rom WN. Environmental and Occupational Medicine, 4th Edition. Chapter 68. Nickel Compounds. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2007.
    7. Salnikow K, Zhitkovich. Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in metal carcinogenesis and cocarcinogenesis: nickel, arsenic and chromium. Chem Res Toxicol, 2008; 21:28-44.
    8. Vaktskjold A, Talykova LV, Chashehin VP, Odland JO, Nieboer E. Spontaneous abortions among nickel-exposed female refinery workers. Int J Environ Health Res, 2008; 18:99-115.
  • Date Last Revised: 07/01/2009

Monitoring Methods used by OSHA

Primary Laboratory Sampling/Analytical Method (SLC1):
  • Mixed Cellulose Ester Filter (MCEF) 0.8 microns
  • maximum volume: 960 Liters
  • minimum volume: 480
  • maximum flow rate: 2.0 L/min
  • current analytical method: Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy; AAS
  • analytical solvent: Deionized water
  • 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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