Date: Thu, 09 May 2002 20:45:27 -0400

Author: James Frysinger

Subject: Re: nickel hazard


The effects of nickel will depend on its oxidation state, on its form, and on
its route into the system, I would imagine. For nickel metal, consider that
our coinage contains a high percentage of nickel. Nickel shot should be
fairly safe as long as it's not swallowed. The powder would be more dangerous
as an inhalation hazard as the particle size is decreased. Also, finer
powders are more likely to adhere unnoticed to skin (such as the fingers),
providing a vector for later ingestion by swallowing. It would help if the
MSDS you quoted also provided some hints on particle size for the free metal,
wouldn't it.

Without knowing the purpose in her experiment for the adding of nickel to
soil, I would recommend the shot over the powder and larger particle sizes
over small sizes if she must use powder. You can of course teach her some
things about good lab hygiene.

In high school I did science projects for three years in a row that involved
handling solutions of arsenic trioxide delivered by unblunted hypodermic
syringes. If a teacher today allowed a student to do that, the teacher would
probably be given either a 20 year prison term or a life sentence without
parole on field trip bus duty for "reckless endangerment".


On Thursday, 2002 May 09 1756, you wrote:
> Hi Everybody,
> I'm doing a little background work on my niece's proposed science fair
> project - that is, checking the safety issues of the supplies she's
> requested. I thought you all might be able to help me out on this:
> She needs a small amount of nickel powder or nickel shot to mix with soil
> in which she will be growing plants.
> Sites like the Los Alamos Periodic Table say:
> Nickel is recognized as being potentially carcinogenic.
> "Exposure to nickel metal and soluble compounds (as Ni) should not exceed
> 0.05 mg/cm3 (8-hour time-weighted average - 40-hour work week)."
> Yet, k-12 science suppliers sell nickel shot and powder, and label it
> non-hazardous.
> Does anybody know, is handling nickel powder or shot dangerous? What are
> the dangers here?
> Thanks for any advice you can send my way - it will help me earn my
> good-aunt merit badge!
> Kelly
> ******************************************************************
> Kelly V. Beck
> Office of VPUE
> 5 - 9139