The resistance of metallic antimony to acids and bases is put to effect in the manufacture of chemical plants. These are used for bearing shells, storage battery plates, cable sheathing, solder, ornamental castings and ammunition. The chest x-ray examinations revealed small, scanty, irregular opacities, particularly at the lung bases. These changes are clinically characterized by minor, predominantly asymptomatic degrees of restrictive pulmonary function changes. The exposure of the victims (workers producing alundum) was to a dense fume comprising aluminium oxide, crystalline free-silica and iron. This condition, known as Shavers disease, was rapidly progressive and often fatal.
It contains a tabulation of major health effects, physical properties and physical and chemical hazards associated with these metals and many of their compounds (see table 63.2 and table 63.3). Cobalt and beryllium, for example, appear in the chapter Respiratory system. During processing, the antimony ore, which is extremely brittle, is converted into fine dust more rapidly than the accompanying rock, leading to high atmospheric concentrations of fine dust during such operations as reduction and screening. These high levels of aluminium have resulted in severe, even fatal brain damage. Some data on the absorption of high levels of aluminium and nervous tissue damage are found among individuals requiring kidney dialysis.Members of the Scientific Committee on the Toxicology of Metals of the International Commission on Occupational Health carried out much of the review. In addition, effects on the heart, even fatal, have been related to long-term occupational exposure to antimony trioxide.They are listed below, along with other reviewers and authors. Pustular skin infections are sometimes seen in persons working with antimony and antimony salts.