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Cobalt: The Health and Environmental Effects of it

Cobalt is a sturdy ferromagnetic mineral element. It is lustre, shiny and brittle in texture. The physical properties of cobalt are similar to that of nickel and iron. It is an active element that can form natural compounds overtime. Water or air cannot have any effects on it but acids can dilute cobalt slowly. 

The different applications of cobalt 

Cobalt is an element that is used in all alloy elements. It is used for various commercial and industrial uses. Some of the uses of cobalt are in the petroleum industry, chemical industry, dying and ink industries. It is one of the bluest elements used by porcelain craft workers. It is an artistic element that is used in jewellery making, painting, stained glass, tiles and enamel jewellery. Some of its unique uses are for medical treatment and food preservation. 

Where cobalt is found? 

It is a natural mineral that is found in the earth’s core. It is available in precipitated insoluble cobalt sulfide from water and earth crust. The average amount of cobalt found in the soil is 8ppm. Cobalt is an essential mineral for marine organisms such as blue-green algae and nitrogen organisms. It is not available as a free metal is available in the form of ores. Cobalt is not a single product but mined with nickel and iron. 

The crucial health effects of cobalt 

  • As it is a mineral available in the environment, humans and animals are exposed to cobalt in the form of air and water. The water, breathing air and food also contains cobalt. It is an essential mineral for humans as it contains vitamin B12. 

  • Some of the known health effects are to treat anaemia and stimulation red blood cells. The daily absorption of cobalt from the environment is 1mg. However, the body only takes essential vitamins from it. 

  • Plants accumulate some amount of cobalt from the soil. However, if taken in large amounts can cause several health complications. 

  • Today, cobalt is also used for cancer research. Also, it is a crucial element in the animal research area.

The interesting environmental effects of cobalt 

  • Cobalt is a mineral that is naturally available in rocks, water, air, plants and animals. It settles on air and water and the rainwater blows it off from the surface. 

  • Humans are making or release amounts of cobalt into the environment through coal burning, mining, processing of ore and production of chemicals. Cobalt is also an element that is released by nuclear plants. 

  • Cobalt is an element that is not destroyable from the earth surface. It settles in the earth in the form of soils and sediments. 

  • There is not enough cobalt on plants. Some of them even develop a cobalt deficiency. This lack of cobalt on some plants also affects the grazing animals. 

  • Cobalt is an element that is known as a biomagnify substance. 


Cobalt is a unique natural element used in medical, commercial and industrial places. Some of the uses, benefits and properties of cobalt are still unknown.

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