DART Committee to Consider Prop 65 Listing of Nickel and Compounds

OEHHA’s Developmental and Reproductive Toxicant Identification Committee (DARTIC) has been tasked to meet and decide whether to list nickel and its compounds under Proposition 65 or not.

The metal and several of its compounds are already listed for carcinogenicity under Proposition 65. Only one compound, nickel carbonyl is listed for DART. Considering DART as an additional hazard to compounds listed for carcinogenicity could cause labeling implications for the manufacturers using the chemicals.

The nickel industry suggested that solubility be a key point in the discussion of whether nickel and its compounds will be listed for developmental and reproductive toxicity (DART) or not.

The solubility issue was included by the Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association (NiPERA) in its comments to the OEHHA as part of the public consultation that ended in late September.

In its comments, the NiPERA explained that the solubility of each nickel compound has to be considered separately because generally, insoluble nickel compounds have very low bioavailability. It means that generally, insoluble nickel compounds can’t circulate in the body because they do not enter the bloodstream.

On the other hand, the organization agrees to the listing of soluble nickel compounds for reproductive toxicity under Prop 65 based on the results of rat studies. Insoluble nickel compounds did not exhibit reproductive toxicity in rat studies. Examples of insoluble nickel compounds are the nickel alloys used in coils and rods.

The NiPERA urges the DARTIC to “vote on the listings for soluble nickel compounds, insoluble nickel compounds, and metallic nickel, separately.”

The NiPERA said that its comments were supported by evidence that has been systematically reviewed by Gradient consultants.  In addition, the organization was supported by nine other industry organizations, trade associations, the Nickel Institute, and the American Chemistry Council.

According to the Nickel Institute, they were “somewhat surprised” by the announcement that in October, the DART Committee will meet to discuss the possible listing for developmental and reproductive toxicity (DART) of nickel and its compounds. The organization said that listing for DART in Proposition 65 would result in regulatory implications for product manufacturers using the chemicals.

The hazards from exposure to nickel have been studied many times by respected bodies worldwide. Nickel, which is widely used in various industries, has known hazardous effects on the environment and human health. But so far, regulators have focused on skin sensitization, carcinogenicity, and other endpoints.

The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) had previously tried to suggest the possibility of listing nickel for DART in 2015. However, the DART-IC classified nickel and its compounds under the “medium/ low”prioritization level.

Among the current uses of nickel and its compounds are in

stainless steel and other nickel alloys; batteries, catalysts; ceramics, and pigments. Nickel is valued for its resistance to mechanical stress, corrosion, and extreme temperature. Nickel salts are widely used in catalysts, textile dyes, batteries, and electroplating baths.

OEHHA has prepared a hazard identification document to help DART-IC in its decision whether to list nickel and its compounds at the Committee’s upcoming meeting.

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