ATSDR - Toxic Substances - Cobalt
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Cobalt

CAS ID #: 7440-48-4

Affected Organ Systems: Cardiovascular (Heart and Blood Vessels), Developmental (effects during periods when organs are developing) , Hematological (Blood Forming), Respiratory (From the Nose to the Lungs)

Cancer Effects: Reasonably Anticipated to be a Human Carcinogen

Chemical Classification: Inorganic substances, Radionuclides (radioactive materials)

Summary: Cobalt is a naturally occurring element found in rocks, soil, water, plants, and animals. Cobalt is used to produce alloys used in the manufacture of aircraft engines, magnets, grinding and cutting tools, artificial hip and knee joints. Cobalt compounds are also used to color glass, ceramics and paints, and used as a drier for porcelain enamel and paints. Radioactive cobalt is used for commercial and medical purposes. 60Co (read as cobalt sixty) is used for sterilizing medical equipment and consumer products, radiation therapy for treating cancer patients, manufacturing plastics, and irradiating food. 57Co is used in medical and scientific research. It takes about 5.27 years for half of 60Co to give off its radiation and about 272 days for 57Co; this is called the half-life.

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