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 REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-10

The exposure to and health effects of antimony


1 Division of Physiology, Birmingham City University, 704 Baker Building, Franchise Street, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2SU, United Kingdom
2 Section for Biochemistry and Physiology, Department of Animal and Veterinary Basic Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, Copenhagen University, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark

Correspondence Address:
Ross G Cooper
Division of Physiology, Birmingham City University, 704 Baker Building, Franchise Street, Perry Barr, Birmingham B42 2SU
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.50716

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Context: This minireview describes the health effects of antimony exposure in the workplace and the environment. Aim: To collate information on the consequences of occupational and environmental exposure to antimony on physiological function and well-being. Methods: The criteria used in the current minireview for selecting articles were adopted from proposed criteria in The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health. Articles were classified from an acute and chronic exposure and toxicity thrust. Results: The proportion of utilised and non-utilised articles was tabulated. Antimony toxicity is dependent on the exposure dose, duration, route (breathing, eating, drinking, or skin contact), other chemical exposures, age, sex, nutritional status, family traits, life style, and state of health. Chronic exposure to antimony in the air at levels of 9 mg/m 3 may exacerbate irritation of the eyes, skin, and lungs. Long-term inhalation of antimony can potentiate pneumoconiosis, altered electrocardiograms, stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach ulcers, results which were confirmed in laboratory animals. Although there were investigations of the effect of antimony in sudden infant death syndrome, current findings suggest no link. Antimony trioxide exposure is predominant in smelters. Mining and exposure via glass working, soldering, and brazing are also important. Conclusion: Antimony has some useful but undoubtedly harmful effects on health and well-being and measures need to be taken to prevent hazardous exposure of the like. Its biological monitoring in the workplace is essential.






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