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Toxicology in workplace air contaminants

An overview of the toxicity of the following workplace air contaminants:

Nickel dust or fume (particulate)
- Exposure
- Applicable Occupational Exposure limits (OELs)
- toxico-kinetics
- toxico-dynamics

Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK) (vapour)
- Exposure
- Applicable Occupational Exposure limits (OELs)
- toxico-kinetics
- toxico-dynamics

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TOXICOLOGY

An overview of the toxicity of the following workplace air contaminants:

• Nickel dust or fume (particulate)
o Exposure
Nickel dust is a product of a "silvery white metal", which is a natural element found in the earth's crust, air, and water. (1) Nickel is used to make stainless steel and alloys. It is also used to make coins, ceramics, and nickel-cadmium batteries. (1) Nickel are found in metal compound and alloys that are welded, cut, and plated. (1) The welded metals caused the air to become tremendously hot and releasing carcinogenic fumes, such as nickel. (1) The biggest source of nickel exposure is cigarette smoke causing emphysema. (2) Contact with product containing nickel, such as jewellery and coins can lead to nickel exposure. (1) The other exposure to nickel is short term inhalation of nickel that can cause sore throat and hoarseness. The ingestion of nickel compounds can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. (1) Nickel compounds can cause exposure to the skin leading to skin irritation, and it is one of the biggest causes of a condition called contact dermatitis. (1,2) The condition called contact dermatitis caused by nickel can lead to mild itching, redness, and severe infections. One of the other condition of nickel allergy is nickel allergic reaction, which is caused by biting on paper clips, pen, body piercing, and etc. (2) Nickel allergies can also develop from eating foods high in nickel such as shellfish, chocolate milk, and beans. Drinking water in water faucet or breathing in dust can also exposed you to nickel.
People that are allergic to nickel may develop asthma attacks following contact with nickel exposure. They may develop painful topical rashes and skin irritations lasting from one to four weeks.
When nickel is heated, the fumes from the nickel can cause shortness of breath and coughing. There is an association between nickel and lung, nose, and throat cancer. (2)
Exposure to nickel can lead to "irritated eyes, itchy skin, shortness of breathe, coughing, and fluid in the lungs." (2)
The long term exposure to nickel can cause many severe and fatal symptoms, including cancer of the lung, nose and throat.(2)

o Applicable Occupational Exposure limits (OELs)

Nickel is "considered a carcinogen meaning it can cause cancer when inhaled into the lungs and nasal canals." It is on the Hazardous Substance List in the U.S. as "one of the most dangerous alloys and is regulated by OSHA." (2) According to OSHA, the "legal airborne limit to nickel exposure is 1mg per every eight hours." (2)

Permissible exposure limit (PEL)
The current OSHA standard for "nickel metal and soluble nickel compounds is 1 milligram of nickel metal and soluble nickel compounds per cubic meter of air (mg/m3) averaged over 8 hours ...

Solution Summary

Toxicology in workplace air contaminants are examined. The applicable occupational exposure limits are given. The exposures of methyl ethyl ketone's are provided.

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