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Issue 4, 2009
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Comparison of nickel release in solutions used for the identification of water-soluble nickel exposures and in synthetic lung fluids

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Abstract

Chemical speciation of workplace nickel exposures is critical because nickel-containing substances often differ in toxicological properties. Exposure matrices based on leaching methods have been used to ascertain which chemical forms of nickel are primarily associated with adverse respiratory effects after inhalation. Misjudgments in the relative proportion of each of the main fractions of nickel in workplace exposures could translate into possible misattributions of risk to the various forms of nickel. This preliminary study looked at the efficiency of the first step of the Zatka leaching method for accurately assessing the ‘water-soluble' fraction of several substances present in nickel production operations, compared to leaching in synthetic lung fluid. The present results demonstrate that for nickel sulfate or chloride, the current Zatka solution is adequate to assess the ‘water-soluble’ fraction. However, when sparingly water-soluble compounds like nickel carbonates or water-insoluble substances like nickel subsulfide and fine metallic nickel powders are present, the first step of the Zatka method can greatly over estimate the amount of nickel that could be released in pure water. In contrast, the releases of nickel from nickel carbonate, nickel subsulfide, and nickel metal powders in pure water are consistent with their releases in synthetic lung fluid, indicating that deionized water is a better leaching solution to estimate the biologically relevant ‘water-soluble’ nickel fraction of workplace exposures. Exposure matrices relying mostly on the Zatka speciation method to estimate the main forms of nickel need to be re-evaluated to account for any possible misattributions of risk.

Graphical abstract: Comparison of nickel release in solutions used for the identification of water-soluble nickel exposures and in synthetic lung fluids

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Article information


Submitted
24 Nov 2008
Accepted
22 Jan 2009
First published
11 Feb 2009

J. Environ. Monit., 2009,11, 823-829
Article type
Paper

Comparison of nickel release in solutions used for the identification of water-soluble nickel exposures and in synthetic lung fluids

A. R. Oller, D. Cappellini, R. G. Henderson and H. K. Bates, J. Environ. Monit., 2009, 11, 823
DOI: 10.1039/B820926J

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