Date: Fri, 10 May 2002 08:55:43 -0500

Author: Gary Karshner

Subject: Re: nickel hazard



the write ups for something you have had experience with. I got a warning
with some sodium chloride we got from a chemical supply house that warned
to use only with goggles and a face mask to protect against dust. Think
of that when you salt your eggs in the morning. The MSDS is used to
protect against any liability, and in my humble opinion is often over



At 04:08 PM 5/9/02 -0700, you wrote:

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for your reply!

Yep, I checked the MSDS.  It does have the most comprehensive safety
information on substances, which raises a good question I've long had
about how to read and use the information in the MSDS.  Because it
is complete, reading an MSDS is often like reading the side-effects of a
medication.  For example, read the side effects of aspirin, and you
might think it a quite dangerous substance, yet we know that it is
relatively safe for most people.  Analogously on the MSDS, consider
the following potential health effects listed for copper:

INHALATION: SHORT TERM EXPOSURE: irritation, metal fume fever

LONG TERM EXPOSURE: metallic taste


LONG TERM EXPOSURE: no information on significant adverse effects

EYE CONTACT: SHORT TERM EXPOSURE: irritation, tearing, blurred vision

LONG TERM EXPOSURE: same as effects reported in short term exposure

INGESTION: SHORT TERM EXPOSURE: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache

LONG TERM EXPOSURE: no information on significant adverse effects

Certainly somebody has had these health effects after handling a piece of
copper, but I suspect they are rare.  So, any words of advice on
reading and using the information in the MSDS in general?

Also interesting: there are three references given on all MSDS for
Carcinogen Status: OSHA, NTP, IARC.  Anybody know why?

For Nickel, OSHA says it is not a carcinogen, but NTP and IARC say it


At 04:40 PM 5/9/2002 -0600, you wrote:

     Have you
checked any MSDS sources such as:

An MSDS has the most comprehensive safety information on a given
substance that I know of.  Maybe your campus safety people could
help too...


At 5/9/200203:56 PM, 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

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

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 V. Beck

Office of VPUE

5 - 9139


Kelly V. Beck

Office of VPUE

5 - 9139