Cobalt exposure can lead to various health concerns and has also been linked to cancer. Cobalt (Co) is a naturally occurring hard, gray metal found in soil, water, plants, animals, humans, and rocks. It is used in batteries, electroplating, tinted glass, surgical implants, paints, and grinding and cutting instruments. Its radioactive isotope is used for food irradiation and imaging. Exposure may affect workers’ hearts, lungs, skin, eyes, and skin health. The dosage, timeframe, and kind of job determine the degree of damage.

Furthermore, some cobalt metal-on-metal hip implants may potentially cause cobalt exposure due to wear and tear. This implant is an artificial hip socket made by inserting a metal ball into a metal cup. Cobalt is sometimes discharged whenever you walk when the metal ball grinds against the metal cup. These metal ions may be discharged into the hip socket and, in certain cases, the bloodstream, resulting in cobalt poisoning.


Symptoms usually appear weeks or months after exposure to high doses of cobalt. However, when you consume a large quantity of cobalt at once, you may have certain symptoms. The following are symptoms of cobalt exposure:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Nerve problems
  • Deafness
  • Thickening of the blood
  • Vision problems
  • Skin allergies
  • Eye, nose, throat, and skin Irritation
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Tinnitus
  • Kidney problem
  • Fibrosis
  • Lung scarring
  • Thyroid problems


The following tests is recommended for people who often or possibly are exposed in cobalt:

  • Kidney and liver function testing
  • Thyroid function testing
  • Specialized testing for skin allergy
  • Urine and blood tests
  • X-rays
  • ECG
  • Lung function test


You must seek medical attention immediately if you ingested a substantial quantity of cobalt or become ill due to long-term cobalt exposure.

  • Skin contact treatment: Nothing will be done because these rashes are seldom severe. The affected region should be cleaned, and a skin lotion should be used.
  • Lung exposure: Breathing treatments and drugs to relieve inflammation and edema in your lungs may be administered if you have lung exposure.
  • Treatment for cobalt ingestion: Your symptoms will be treated, and blood tests will be ordered. If you have a high amount of cobalt in your blood, you might require hemodialysis and medications to counteract the chemical’s effects.

When symptoms of cobalt poisoning from a metal-on-metal hip implant appear, the implant might be removed and replaced with a standard hip implant.

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