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Cobalt, Blood Test

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About Our Cobalt, Blood Test

This blood test monitors for industrial exposure to cobalt, a heavy metal. Cobalt is employed industrially in certain grades of steel and in tungsten carbide tools, and cobalt compounds are used as pigments in paints. In addition, cobalt is an essential element in humans that is supplied through dietary intake. The average intake of dietary cobalt is 280 μg/day.

Testing for cobalt poisoning occurs when an individual is believed to have been too levels of cobalt at a high level via inhalation, ingestion or through skin contact. Although cobalt is found in the general environment, overexposure typically occurs in the industrial environment, primarily through the inhalation of cobalt dust and/or fumes. Cobalt exposure can also occur as a result of ingesting medications such as cobaltous chloride. Blood is the preferred specimen for measuring acute or recent exposure to cobalt.

Cobalt poisoning through chronic exposure may result in the following:

  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Cough
  • Nerve damage
  • Cardiac problems
  • Dyspnea; difficulty breathing
  • Acute exposures are generally characterized by an allergic dermatitis; skin rash or irritation

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