Cobalt poisoning

Cobalt chloride; Cobalt oxide; Cobalt sulfate

Cobalt is a naturally occurring element in the earth's crust. It is a very small part of our environment. Cobalt is a component of vitamin B12, which supports the production of red blood cells. Very small amounts are needed for animals and humans to stay healthy. Cobalt poisoning can occur when you are exposed to large amounts of it. There are three basic ways that cobalt can cause poisoning. You can swallow too much of it, breathe too much into your lungs, or have it come in constant contact with your skin.

Cobalt poisoning can also occur from the wear and tear of some cobalt/chromium metal-on-metal hip implants. This type of implant is an artificial hip socket that is created by fitting a metal ball into a metal cup. Sometimes, metal particles (cobalt) are released as the metal ball grinds against the metal cup when you walk. These metal particles (ions) can get released into the hip socket and sometimes the bloodstream, causing cobalt toxicity.

This article is for information only. DO NOT use it to treat or manage an actual poison exposure. If you or someone you are with has an exposure, call your local emergency number (such as 911), or your local poison center can be reached directly by calling the national toll-free Poison Help hotline (1-800-222-1222) from anywhere in the United States.

Poisonous Ingredient

Where Found

Symptoms

Home Care

Before Calling Emergency

Poison Control

What to Expect at the Emergency Room

Outlook (Prognosis)