Cobalt poisoning is intoxication caused by excessive levels of cobalt in the body. Cobalt is an essential element for health in animals in minute amounts as a component of Vitamin B12. A deficiency of cobalt, which is very rare, is also potentially lethal, leading to pernicious anemia.
How cobalt enters the body
Exposure to cobalt metal dust is most common in the fabrication of tungsten carbide. Another potential source is wear and tear of metal-on-metal hip prostheses.
Toxicity of cobalt salts
The LD50 values of soluble cobalt salts has been estimated to be between 150 and 500 mg/kg. Thus, for a 100 kg person the LD50 would be about 20 grams.
- ^ a b John D. Donaldson; Detmar Beyersmann (2005). "Cobalt and Cobalt Compounds". Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH. doi:10.1002/14356007.a07_281.pub2.