As a Medical Toxicologist, not a chemist, I have not worked dire ctly with Nickel Carbonyl in a laboratory.
However, it is a very toxic substance which can cause lung irritat ion, usually followed by a relatively asymptomatic period, and then del ayed onset of non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema which can be fatal with repor ted deaths occurring after 3-13 days following exposure by inhalation.  ; The fatal airborne level has been estimated to be 30 ppm for 30 minutes . In this sense it acts very much like exposure to airborne nitric acid vapor or oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
While there has been some controversy regarding the potential carcinogenici ty of Nickel Carbonyl, this has been based on experimental animal studies and reports of vapor exposures in nickel refinery workers be ing associated with increased risk of paranasal sinus and lung cancers.&nbs p; The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has determined that there is limited evidence for the carcinogenicity of this compound in experimental animals and the US EPA classifies it as a level B2 suspected c arcinogen based on animal studies as well.
For an excellent short and succinct review, see the following reference:< BR>
Hathaway GJ, Proctor NH: Proctor & Hughes' Chemical Hazards of the Workplace, 5th ed. Wiley Interscience, John Wiley & ; Sons, Hoboken, NJ, 2004, pp. 511-512.
There's also a much more thorough review in the National Library of Medicin e's Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB) which is available on their websi te without cost:
select the heading under Environmental Toxicology from the menu on the left , select HSDB, and enter either the Chemical Name or CAS registry numbe r (13463-39-3).
This is obviosuly a chemical which must be handled with very strict chemica l safety procedures in place. Hope this is useful.
Alan H. Hall, M.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Colorado School of Public Health
Previous post | Top of Page | Next post