Nickel, in the form of various alloys and compounds, has been in widespread commercial use for over 100 years. Several million workers worldwide are exposed to airborne fumes, dusts and mists containing nickel and its compounds.
Nickel occurs naturally in the environment at low levels. Nickel compounds and metallic nickel have many industrial and commercial applications, including use in stainless steel and other nickel alloys, catalysts, batteries, pigments, and ceramics. Exposure occurs through inhalation, ingestion or skin contact. Skin complaints and respiratory effects have been reported from exposure to nickel. Studies have reported an increased risk of lung and nasal cancers from exposure to nickel refinery dusts and nickel subsulfide. Nickel compounds are classified as Group 1 carcinogen by the IARC, meaning they are carcinogenic to humans. Metallic Nickel as Group 2B, possibly carcinogenic to humans.
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References: IARC, NIEHS, CDC, HSE
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