Nickel (58,69 a.m.u.), supposedly could be a vital element in very low concentrations, as long as it is containing in structures of several proteins (including urea enzyme), RNA, DNA. Deficit of nickel manifests organism development disorder, testis atrophy, anaemia, hypercholesterinaemia and decrease of glycogen savings. Nickel is an element with well-known toxic effects, including hypersensitivity reactions (dermatitis – “nickel scabies”) and cancerigenic effects (respiration organs).
Sources of chronic nickel exposure are – manufacturing of ink, magnets, paints, stainless steel, enamel, ceramics, batteries, glass, alloys. It is being used for manufacturing of coins and jewellery. 10 – 15% of people has allergy for nickel. It could be caused by using of nickel-containing products, implanted prostheses and indicating in local and generalized dermatitis.
Refined nickel dust and nickel subsulphide are classified as carcinogens for human. Inhaled nickel salts, especially with cigarette smoke are deposed in bronchi for a long time. Inhaled dust of powder nickel is often absorbed in lung parenchyma, partly swallowed with slime, partly breathed out. Vapoury nickel carbonoxide is absorbed in much bigger amounts; it is one of the most toxic chemicals, damaging lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, adrenal body. Levels of nickel in blood serum and urine are the most useful indexes, showing person’s exposition to nickel.
Female hair contains 3,96 – 1,055 mg/kg, male – just 0,97 – 0,147 mg/kg. Research of nickel in hair is being used to evaluate its effect over the long term.