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Alternative names

Poisoning from an overdose of cobalt.

Poisonous Ingredient


Where Found

  • Magnets in pigment manufacture
  • In paint drier
  • A metallic component of vitamin B-12
  • Exposure is seen in tool sharpeners, miners, and grinders
Note: This list may not be all inclusive.


From swallowing:
  • Body as a whole
    • Pain
    • Weakness
  • Respiratory
    • Shortness of breath
  • Skin
    • Itching
    • Cyanosis
  • Gastrointestinal
    • Vomiting
    • Nausea
  • Heart and blood vessels
    • Low blood pressure
  • Endocrine
    • Metabolic acidosis
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Goiter
From inhalation:
  • Respiratory
    • Shortness of breath
    • Wheezing
  • Skin
    • Rash

Home Treatment

If overdosage is caught within approximately 1 hour, lavage and activated charcoal are usually the treatment choices. For oral ingestion, iron can often decrease the absorption of cobalt. Call Poison Control for guidance.

Before Calling Emergency

Determine the following information:
  • the patient's age, weight, and condition
  • the name of the product (ingredients and strengths if known)
  • the time it was swallowed
  • the amount swallowed

Poison Control, or a local emergency number

They will instruct you if it is necessary to take the patient to the hospital. See Poison Control Centers for telephone numbers and addresses. Take the container with you to the emergency room.

What to expect at the emergency room

Some or all of the following procedures may be performed:
  • Give an antidote.
  • Treat the symptoms.

Expectations (prognosis)

If treated promptly under proper medical care poisoning is rarely severe, unless the toxicity is due to a long-time accumulation. In that case the ultimate outcome depends on what damage has occurred in body organs affected by the metal.

Update Date: 7/31/2003

Ari Schwell, M.D., Director, Emergency Department of the Episcopal Campus of Temple University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT