The term “oxidic nickel” includes nickel (II) oxides, nickel (III) oxides, possibly nickel (IV) oxides and other non-stochiometric entities, complex nickel oxides (including spinels in which other metals such as copper, chromium, or iron are present), silicate oxides (garnierite), hydrated oxides, hydroxides, and, possibly, carbonates or basic carbonates which are subject to various degrees of hydration. Therefore, for the purposes of this document they will be considered together.
Oxidic nickel is used in many industrial applications and will be present in virtually every major nickel industry sector (NiPERA, 1996). Nickel oxide sinter is often the end product in the roasting of nickel sulfide concentrates. It is used as charge to produce wrought stainless steel and other alloy materials. It is also used in cast stainless steel and nickel-based alloys. Commercially available nickel oxide powders are used in the electroplating industry, for catalysis preparation, and for other chemical applications. Black nickel oxide and hydroxide are used in the production of electrodes for nickel-cadmium batteries utilized in domestic markets and also in large power units. Complex nickel oxides are used in oil refining and ceramic magnets (Thornhill, 2000; Van Vlack, 1980).
As in the case of the previously discussed nickel species, inhalation of oxidic nickel compounds is the route of exposure of greatest concern in occupational settings. Unlike the former species of nickel, however, dermal exposures to oxidic nickel are believed to be of little consequence to nickel workers. While no data are directly available on the effects of oxidic nickel compounds on skin, due to their low water solubility, very low absorption of nickel through the skin is expected.
Inhalation Exposure: Oxidic Nickel