Nickel is a silvery-white metal found naturally in the earth's crust. Nickel is found everywhere in the environment but usually only in trace amounts.
The process of refining and combusting ores containing nickel creates volatile forms of nickel such as nickel carbonyl and nickel dust.
Nickel carbonyl gas is the most acutely toxic nickel compound. Symptoms from acute (short-term) exposure in humans include headache, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and irritability, followed by chest pains, dry coughing, cyanosis, gastrointestinal symptoms, sweating, visual disturbances, and severe weakness.
Nickel has been shown to be an essential trace element in several animal species and is likely to be essential in humans. However, there is no known condition in people that has been associated with nickel deficiency, and it is likely that we get all the nickel we need from its ubiquitous presence in food and water.
Nickel Toxicity is usually not a problem unless several grams are ingested from non-dietary sources, or unless there is a natural tendency to retain too much nickel, which could lead to asthma, angina or other cardiac symptoms as a result of nickel interfering with Vitamin E activity.
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