Cobalt oxide

Alternative names 
Cobalt chloride; Cobalt; Cobalt sulfate

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       o Pain       o Weakness  
  • Respiratory       o Shortness of breath  
  • Skin       o Itching       o Cyanosis  
  • Gastrointestinal       o Vomiting       o Nausea  
  • Heart and blood vessels       o Low blood pressure  
  • Endocrine       o Metabolic acidosis       o Hypothyroidism       o Goiter

From inhalation:

  • Respiratory       o Shortness of breath       o Wheezing  
  • Skin       o 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.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 3, 2012
by Levon Ter-Markosyan, D.M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.