Hair is a very good tissue for monitoring accumulated body stores of nickel (Ni). But, often hair can be contaminated with nickel from hair treatments and dyes.
Ni is an essential element which is required for health in extremely low amounts. Excess Ni is well established to be toxic to the kidneys, and carcinogenic. Elevated Ni is often found in people who work in the electronic and plating, mining, and manufacturing industries. A cigarette typically contains 2 to 6 mcg of Ni, which is absorbed more efficiently in the lungs than in the lower GI tract.
Symptoms of chronic Ni exposure include:
- chronic rhinitis
- pulmonary inflammation
- liver necrosis
Ni can hyper-sensitize the immune system causing hyper-allergenic responses to many different substances.