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Nickel metal and other compounds (as Ni)

May 1994
Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health Concentrations (IDLH)

CAS number: 7440–02–0 (Metal)

NIOSH REL: 0.015 mg/m3 TWA; NIOSH considers nickel compounds to be potential occupational carcinogens as defined by the OSHA carcinogen policy [29 CFR 1990].

Current OSHA PEL: Metal and insoluble compounds: 1 mg/m3 TWA

1989 OSHA PEL: Same as current PEL

1993-1994 ACGIH TLV: Metal and insoluble compounds: 1 mg/m3 TWA

Description of substance: Varies

Original (SCP) IDLH*: No Evidence [*Note: “Effective” IDLH = 2,000 mg Ni/m3 — see discussion below.]

Basis for original (SCP) IDLH: The available toxicological data do not indicate that exposure to a high concentration of nickel metal or soluble nickel compounds could impede escape within 30 minutes. For this draft technical standard, therefore, respirators have been selected on the basis of the assigned protection factor afforded by each device up to 2,000 ´ the OSHA PEL (2,000 ´ 1 mg Ni/m3 is 2,000 mg Ni/m3); only the “most protective” respirators are permitted for use in concentrations exceeding 2,000 mg Ni/m3.

Short-term exposure guidelines: None developed


Lethal concentration data:

Species Reference LC50 LCLo Time Adjusted 0.5-hrLC (CF) Derived value
NiB2F8Mouse NDRC 1943 —– 530 mg/m3 10 min 92 mg Ni/m3 (0.69) 9.2 mg Ni/m3

Lethal dose data:

Species Reference Route LD50(mg/kg) LDLo(mg/kg) Adjusted LD Derived value
NiB2F8Rat NRC 1953 oral —– 500 844 mg Ni/m3 88 mg Ni/m3
NiORat FDRL 1983 oral —– 5,000 27,504 mg Ni/m3 2,750 mg Ni/m3
NiRat FDRL 1983 oral —– 5,000 35,000 mg Ni/m3 3,500 mg Ni/m3
NiG. pig Gekkan Yakuji 1980 oral —– 5 35 mg Ni/m3 3.5 mg Ni/m3
Ni(NH4)2(SO4)2Rat FDRL 1984 oral 400 —– 573 mg Ni/m3 57 mg Ni/m3
NiC4H6O4Rat Haro et al. 1968 oral 350 —– 814 mg Ni/m3 81 mg Ni/m3
NiC4H6O4Mouse Haro et al. 1968 oral 410 —– 953 mg Ni/m3 95 81 mg Ni/m3mg Ni/m3
NiCl2Rat Itskova et al. 1969 oral 105 —– 333 mg Ni/m3 33 mg Ni/m3

Other animal data: It has been reported that pulmonary inflammation, degeneration of the bronchiolar mucosa, and atrophy of the olfactory epithelium resulted in rats and mice exposed to nickel sulfate hexahydrate at concentrations ranging from 0.7 to 13.5 mg Ni/m3 for 6 hours/day for 12 days [Benson et al. 1988].

Human data: None relevant for use in determining the revised IDLH.

Revised IDLH: 10 mg Ni/m3Basis for revised IDLH: The revised IDLH for nickel compounds is 10 mg Ni/m3 based on acute inhalation toxicity data in animals [NDRC 1943]. This may be a conservative value due to the lack of relevant acute inhalation toxicity data for workers. [Note: NIOSH recommends as part of its carcinogen policy that the “most protective” respirators be worn for nickel compounds at concentrations above 0.015 mg Ni/m3.]


1. Benson JM, Burt DG, Carpenter RL, et al. [1988]. Comparative inhalation toxicity of nickel sulfate to F344/N rats and B6C3F1 mice exposed for twelve days. Fundam Appl Toxicol 10:164-178.

2. FDRL [1983]. Acute oral LD50 study in rats (OECD). Waverly, NY: Food and Drug Research Laboratories, Inc., FDRL Study No. 7684D.

3. FDRL [1984]. Acute oral LD50 study of ammonium nickel sulfate technical grade in Sprague-Dawley rats. Waverly, NY: Food and Drug Research Laboratories, Inc., FDRL Study No. 8005A.

4. Gekkan Yakuji (Pharmaceuticals Monthly) [1980]; 22:455 (in Japanese).

5. Haro RT, Furst A, Falk HL [1968]. Studies on the acute toxicity of nickelocene. In: Proc W Pharmacol Soc 11:39-42.

6. Itskova AI, Elakhovskaya NP, Kolbasova OV, Lychnikova TD [1969]. The toxicity of soluble nickel compounds taken by mouth. Farmakol Toxsikol 32:102-105 (translated).

7. NDRC [1943]. Informal monthly progress report on toxicity of chemical warfare agents. National Defense Research Committee, Office of Scientific Research and Development, Division 9, Progress Report No. 9-4-1-19.

8. NRC [1953]. Relationship between chemical structure and toxic action on rats. National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, Chemical-Biological Coordination Center, Review 5:28.