People can be exposed to nickel by breathing air, drinking water, nutrition, smoking cigarettes and even wearing jewelry plated with nickel. Nickel is essential in small quantities, but if the uptake is too high may cause damage to health.
Food contains normally small amounts of nickel. It is known that chocolate and fats contain large amounts of nickel. Nickel reaches the highest level when people consume large quantities of vegetables from contaminated soils.
Fruits and vegetables contain nickel, but still in unspecified quantity.Fruits and vegetables containing nickel are: apricots, potatoes, onions, dry beans and green beans, paddy wheat , carrots, rice, tomatoes, spinach, grapes, cabbage, etc..
Smokers absorbs, through lungs, a large amount of nickel. Nickel can be found in detergents.
The assimilation of too much nickel has the following consequences:
- More likely to develop lung cancer, nasal cancer, larynx cancer and prostate cancer
- Dizziness after exposure to nickel gasses
- respiratory disabilities
- Birth defects
- Lung embolism
- Disorders of the heart
- Allergic reactions such as itchy skin, mainly in jewelry and coins
- Asthma and chronic bronchitis
Smoke Nickel is a respiratory irritant and can cause pneumonia. Exposure to nickel and its derivatives can lead sensitive organisms to the development of dermatitis known as "nickel itch".
The first symptoms usually itching, which occure up to 7 days after the skin eruptions occur. The first eruption of the skin is erythematous, or follicular, and may be followed by ulceration of the skin.
Nickel sensitivity, once acquired, persist permanently.
However nickel is an element which stimulates liver and pancreatic functions, being indicated particularly in diabetes mellitus.
Many times nickel, a hard metal known, also as Ni, is placed between the coating and silver because it facilitates the adherence and luster of the plating to the metal. When used in silver jewelry, this can cause irritation to those who are sensitive to nickel or have nickel allergies. For that reason, there is nickel-free jewelry notices available on most pieces of jewelry. 95% of the US sterling silver jewelry is nickel-free and many other countroes are now labeling their jewelry nickel-free as well, though testing may be required to discern nicke-free jewelry.