Cobalt is essential to human health as a part of vitamin B12, something humans and animals need access to in order to stay healthy. Cobalt is added to animal feed to keep livestock healthy. However, in excess it can also be bad for you. We know inhaling large amounts can increase a person’s risk of cancer.
As with many substances, an excessive amount can be bad for you. The vast majority of people are highly unlikely to naturally encounter cobalt in large enough amounts for it to be dangerous, but people working in manufacturing facilities where cobalt is used could be at risk without proper mitigation measures.
The cobalt industry recognises the need to manage workplace exposures to cobalt and has played a leading role in generating the scientific data required to understand and manage the risks associated with cobalt inhalation.
Cobalt safe in food
Cobalt is an essential metal, needed for the health of ruminant animals such as cows and sheep. It is also needed by various environmental bacteria and other microscopic life forms that play an important role in biodiversity.
The greatest exposure to cobalt for the general population is through food in their diet. Cobalt is essential to human life as part of Vitamin B12.
The concentration of cobalt found in natural waters includes freshwater systems such as lakes, streams and rivers and salt water or marine systems including estuaries and oceans.
As cobalt is naturally occurring and a widely dispersed element, all natural waters contain background concentrations of this element, which are the naturally occurring concentrations present in waters due to geological influence rather than from the influence of man.