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Origin / Meaning of the name Nickel: The name Nickel derives from an abbreviation of the German word 'kupfernickel' meaning "Devil's copper". In German 'Kupfer' means copper and 'Nickel' means devil. The German word 'Nickel' was a form of the name Nicholas, a term commonly associated with the devil which is why "Old Nick" is a familiar name for Satan. The metal was originally named by German miners who believed that the devil had changed or contaminated this strange ore, turning it into a less valuable and harder to work metal than valuable copper. The name was given by the chemist Axel von Cronstedt (1722-1765) who discovered the element. ( Identification: Nickel is a silvery white (das et al March 11,2008) , lustrous white, hard, ferromagnetic metal.(WHO/SDE/WSH/05.08/55,page 1). It is transition metal and ductile. (das et al March 11,2008). It occur naturally in five isotopic forms: 58 (67.8%), 60 (26.2%), 61 (1.2%), 62 (3.7%), and 64 (1.2%). Its Specific density 8.90 g/cm3 at 25 C, Melting point 1555 C, Boiling point 2837 C. (WHO/SDE/WSH/05.08/55,page 1). Occurrence and Sources Nickel (Ni) is the 24th most abundant element in the Earths crust, comprising about 3% of the composition of the earth. It is the 5th most abundant element by weight after iron, oxygen, magnesium and silicon. It is a member of the transition series and belongs to group VIII B of the periodic table along with iron, cobalt, palladium, platinum and five other elements. Nickel is a naturally occurring element that can exist in various mineral forms. It htoccurs most usually in combination with sulphur and iron in pentlandite, with sulphur in millerite, with arsenic in the mineral nickeline, and with arsenic and sulphur in nickel glance As a member of the transition metal series, it is resistant to corrosion by air, water and alkali, but dissolves readily in dilute oxidizing acids. Natural nickel is a mixture of five stable isotopes; nineteen other unstable isotopes are known. Although it can exist in several different oxidation states, the prevalent oxidation state under environmental conditions is Ni(II), nickel in the +2 valence state. Other valences (-1, +1, +3, and +4) are also encountered, though less frequently.

Nickel is one of the five ferromagnetic elements. Nickel is also a naturally magnetostrictive materials, meanings that in the presence of a magnetic field, the material undergoes a small change in length. (das et al March 11,2008), (WHO/SDE/WSH/05.08/55,page 1), Polish J. of Environ. Stud. Vol. 15, No. 3 (2006), 375-382. Nickel is present in a variety of foods particularly pulses, oats (0.18 mg/kg in miscellaneous cereals) and nuts (1.77 mg/kg). Lower levels of nickel are present in drinking water. Nickel is present in a few multimineral food supplements at levels of approximately 0.005 mg/daily dose. The average intake of nickel in the UK is 0.13 mg/day from food, and 0.02-0.04 mg/day from drinking water. Nickel and nickel compounds have many industrial and commercial use. Nickel is used mainly in the production of stainless steels, non-ferrous alloys, and super alloys. Other uses of nickel and nickel salts are in electroplating, as catalysts, in nickelcadmium batteries, in coins, in welding products, and in certain pigments and electronic products. It is estimated that 8% of nickel is used for household appliances. Nickel is also incorporated in some food supplements, which can contain several micrograms of nickel per tablet. The nickel salts of greatest commercial importance are nickel chloride, sulphate, nitrate, carbonate, hydroxide, acetate and oxide. The properties of nickel and its environmental distribution have been summarized by the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
Nickel occurs predominantly as the ion Ni(H2O)6 2+ in natural waters at pH 59 (IPCS,1991). Complexes with ligands, such as OH-, SO42-, HCO3-, Cl-, and NH3, are formed to a minor degree in this pH range.

Absorption of Nickel Nickel is poorly absorbed from diets and is eliminated mainly in the faeces. Absorbed nickel is rapidly cleared from serum and excreted in urine. The mechanism for intestinal absorption of nickel is not clear. Iron deficiency increased intestinal nickel absorption in vitro and in vivo, indicating that nickel is partially absorbed by the active transfer system for iron absorption in the intestinal mucosal cells. In perfused rat jejunum, saturation of nickel uptake was observed at high concentrations of nickel chloride. Iron concentrations in rat tissues were increased by dietary nickel exposure. Nickel is bound to a histidine complex, albumin, and alpha-2-macroglobulin in serum.

Absorption of soluble nickel compounds from drinking-water is higher than that from food. After 24 h, 1034% of a single oral dose of water-soluble nickel compounds (i.e., NiSO4, NiCl2, Ni(NO3)2) was absorbed, whereas less than 2% of a single oral dose of insoluble or scarcely soluble nickel compounds (i.e., NiO, Ni, Ni3S2, NiS) was absorbed. It is not known if the animals were fasted before treatment. The highest nickel concentrations were found in the kidneys and lungs, whereas nickel concentrations in the liver were low. In short- and long-term studies of animal administered various soluble nickel salts orally, nickel was found primarily in the kidneys. The relative tissue concentrations were kidneys > lungs> liver >heart> testes. As reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (1986), humans and animals absorb approximately 1-10 per cent of dietary nickel10. Similar values were reported for drinking water exposure and gavage administration. (DAS