cobalt urine/serum test

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clinical definition of cobalt urine/serum test

A cobalt urine test or a serum test is conducted to examine one’s exposure to industrial cobalt. Cobalt can be readily utilized for fabrication of tungsten carbide tools, steel, paints, and even fertilizers. It is known that cobalt is something an individual regularly consumes from the dietary intakes. It is nearly 280 μg per day cobalt that we devour which, in turn, gets excreted from our body in the form of urine or faeces.

One should know the fact that appropriate cobalt levels have a major role in producing vitamin B12 metabolism and cobalt deficiency has not been recorded as of now. When it comes to intake of cobalt supplement for humans, Vitamin B-12 is prescribed as it contains optimal cobalt levels.

what is cobalt urine/serum test?

The cobalt blood test helps to detect the levels of cobalt in the patient’s body. When the exposure to the element is limited, it may tend no harm. But when cobalt toxicity levels rise from overexposure to the element, health issues may emerge. The reasons for such increased cobalt blood levels account due to over-intake, inhalation, or skin contact while in the industrial settings.

why do i need cobalt urine/serum test?

Cobalt is not very toxic, but the over-exposure may lead to certain health issues. When one experiences cobalt allergy symptoms such as pulmonary oedema, nausea, blood loss, vomiting, or even renal failure; opting for cobalt lab test becomes essential.

In more serious cases one may experience pulmonary syndrome, thyroid level fluctuations or skin problems. Especially the labour force that is prone to inhaling of cobalt during the production of cobalt alloy metals is likely to develop lung cancer.

what do my test results mean?

If your cobalt blood test detects cobalt poisoning levels either more than or equal to 1.0 ng/ml, it implies on the job or environmental exposure. Cobalt toxicity in humans is concluded when the cobalt blood levels are found to be greater than 5 ng/ml.

Once detected with cobalt toxicity, treatment would follow. A viable cobalt poisoning treatment includes chelation therapy that can subsequently lower down the exceeded cobalt toxicity in humans.

how is cobalt urine/serum test done?

Cobalt lab test utilises spectrometry detection approach or more aptly, inductively-coupled plasma/mass spectrometry, i.e. ICP-MS. A blood sample is taken which is then exposed to argon plasma at 6000-100000K. This helps in destroying the sample and, in turn, ionising the metal.

Then the resulting metal specimen is inspected using a spectrometer by following an internal procedure. The cobalt poisoning levels are then reported in the μg/L or ng/ml format.

sample required

Sample required for chromium cobalt blood test include 2-7 mL blood and 5mL urine specimen.

what might affect my test results?

If you are on vitamin supplements such as B12 or Vitamin B Complex before the cobalt urine test, it might affect the lab results.

how do you understand this result?

The normal cobalt blood levels in blood would be less than 1.8 microgram/L. So if the test results point out at anything more than this level, cobalt chromium toxicity is what is to be concluded.

how do i prepare for cobalt urine/serum test?

You just need to keep your blood drawn out at the end of your work shift when going for a cobalt poisoning level check.

Remember to wear a short sleeved or a sleeveless t-shirt for the lab test. Always follow the instructions given by the lab technician when undergoing cobalt level check test.


The cobalt blood test helps in finding out the unwanted levels of cobalt found in blood. In case the cobalt allergy symptoms are found in a patient, cobalt toxicity treatment should follow so that the adverse effects can be done away with.