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Nickel (Ni) is a highly corrosion resistant, ferromagnetic metal from Group 10 of the Periodic Table. It occurs primarily in nature as nickel sulfides, nickel arsenides and nickel antimonides; in nickel carbonates and oxides; and in the mineral nickelite. In nature, nickel is primarily found in the +2 oxidation state. Nickel oxide (NiO) is a green, solid chemical compound with the formula Ni2O3. It is produced by calcination of nickel carbonate at elevated temperatures and is also obtained by reduction of nickel sulfides in the presence of oxygen at higher temperatures. Nickel oxide is not soluble in water. It is a source of nickel for glass, ceramics, and other applications. Nickel oxide is produced as both “chemical grade”, a relatively pure material used in a wide range of specialty applications, and metallurgical grade, a high purity material for use in nickel alloys. It is also used as a raw material in the production of nickel-zinc ferrite, nickel salts and nickel catalysts. Nickel oxide can be doped with other elements to produce a wide variety of transparent electrodes in optoelectronic devices.
Chronic inhalation exposures to nickel oxide can cause skin sensitization, itching dermatitis, intestinal problems and respiratory tract irritation. Nickel oxide is a carcinogen in humans in the nickel refining industry and may cause lung cancer in rats. Nickel oxide is toxic to aquatic organisms and may cause long-term adverse effects in the environment. Exposure to nickel oxide dust can result in respiratory irritation and inhalation injuries including pulmonary fibrosis.