Cobalt chloride; Cobalt oxide; Cobalt sulfate
Usually you have to be exposed to high levels of cobalt for weeks to months to have symptoms. However, it is possible to have some symptoms if you swallow a large amount of cobalt at once.
The most worrisome form of cobalt poisoning occurs when you breathe too much into your lungs. This usually will only happen in industrial settings where large amounts of drilling, polishing, or other processes release fine particles containing cobalt into the air. Breathing in this cobalt dust can cause a lot of chronic lung problems. If you breathe in this substance for long periods, you will likely develop problems breathing similar to asthma or more permanent problems, such as pulmonary fibrosis.
Cobalt poisoning that occurs from constant contact with your skin will likely cause irritation and rashes that will go away slowly.
Swallowing a large amount of absorbable cobalt at one time is very rare and likely not too dangerous. This may cause nausea and vomiting. However, if you swallow a large amount of cobalt over longer periods of time, serious health problems can occur, including:
Goldfrank LR, ed. Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies. 8th ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2006.
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