WHO: Nickel in Drinking Water
The primary source of nickel in drinking-water is leaching from metals in contact
with drinking-water, such as pipes and fittings. However, nickel may also be present
in some groundwaters as a consequence of dissolution from nickel ore-bearing rocks.
Nickel is used principally in its metallic form combined with other metals and nonmetals
as alloys. Nickel alloys are characterized by their hardness, strength, and
resistance to corrosion and heat.
Nickel is used mainly in the production of stainless steels, non-ferrous alloys, and
super alloys. Other uses of nickel and nickel salts are in electroplating, as catalysts, in
nickel–cadmium batteries, in coins, in welding products, and in certain pigments and
electronic products (IARC, 1990). It is estimated that 8% of nickel is used for
household appliances (IPCS, 1991). Nickel is also incorporated in some food
supplements, which can contain several micrograms of nickel per tablet (EU, 2004).