Tungsten carbide-cobalt (WC-Co) particles can enter the body via the food in case of lacking hygiene conditions. Likewise, an uptake via contaminated drinking water is possible. Contamination is followed by an enhanced level of tungsten and cobalt in the blood and in the urine. Hence, exposure monitoring of hard metal workers (so-called biological screening) can be performed by measuring blood or urine concentrations.


Results obtained by in vitro assays indicate an uptake of nano-sized WC-Co particles into cells of the large intestine. WC-Co nanoparticles were never detected in the cell nuclei [1].



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