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Identifying and Mitigating Occupational Exposure Risks to Nickel and Nickel Compounds

Clark Seif Clark provides industrial hygiene testing, consulting and training services to protect workers and the public from potential chemical and biological hazards.

Chatsworth, CA – WEBWIRE

Allergic reactions to nickel are fairly common, in fact, approximately 10 to 20% of the population is sensitive to nickel according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Nickel is a naturally occurring element with many beneficial chemical and physical properties. Pure nickel is a hard, silvery-white metal used to make stainless steel and other metal alloys. These are used in the production of countless products for industrial, consumer, marine, aerospace, military and other applications.
It can also be combined with other elements to form nickel compounds. Nickel compounds are used for nickel plating, to color ceramics, to make some batteries and as catalysts.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reports that workers may be harmed from exposure to nickel depending upon the dose, duration and work being done. Some of the occupations that could put a worker in contact with nickel or nickel compounds include:

  • Refinery workers in nickel processing plants
  • Jewelry and pawn shop workers who come in contact with nickel coins or jewelry
  • Factory workers in plants where nickel alloys are used
  • Workers who come in contact with tools and other nickel releasing surfaces

Allergic reactions to nickel are fairly common, in fact, approximately 10 to 20% of the population is sensitive to nickel according to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry (ATSDR). The most common reaction is a skin rash at the site of contact. Less frequently, some asthmatics who are sensitive to nickel have an asthma attack following exposure.
“The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has determined that nickel metal may reasonably be anticipated to be a carcinogen and that nickel compounds are known human carcinogens,” said Zahid Iqbal, MPH, CIH and Technical Director at Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that some nickel compounds are carcinogenic to humans and that metallic nickel may possibly be carcinogenic to humans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that nickel refinery dust and nickel subsulfide are human carcinogens. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment lists nickel and nickel compounds as substances known to the state to cause cancer for purposes of Proposition 65.”
To protect workers and to help keep companies in regulatory compliance, the industrial hygiene professionals at CSC offer testing, monitoring, consulting and training services to eliminate or mitigate exposures to nickel, nickel compounds and many other potential hazards. CSC has even sponsored an educational video about exposure risks to nickel and nickel compounds that can be seen at:
To learn more about this or other occupational, indoor air quality, environmental, health and safety services, please visit, email or call (800) 807-1118. 
About Clark Seif Clark
CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.

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 Industrial Hygiene
 Occupational Health
 Occupational Safety

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