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Toxics 2015, 3(4), 499-514; doi:10.3390/toxics3040499

The Role of the Component Metals in the Toxicity of Military-Grade Tungsten Alloy

1
Internal Contamination and Metal Toxicity Program, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Uniformed Services University, 8901 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20889-5603, USA
2
Division of Comparative Pathology, Veterinary Sciences Department, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Uniformed Services University, 8901 Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda, MD 20889-5603, USA
Present address: Department of Veterans Affairs, Manchester VA Medical Center, 718 Smyth Road, Manchester, NH 03104, USA.
Present address: Public Health Command, District Carson, 1661 O’Connell Blvd, Bldg 1012, Fort Carson, CO 80913, USA.
§
Present address: Office of Food Additive Safety, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, United States Food and Drug Administration, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, MD 20740, USA.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Wayne Briner
Received: 9 November 2015 / Revised: 1 December 2015 / Accepted: 2 December 2015 / Published: 8 December 2015
(This article belongs to the Collection Heavy Metals Toxicology)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1420 KB, uploaded 8 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

Tungsten-based composites have been recommended as a suitable replacement for depleted uranium. Unfortunately, one of these mixtures composed of tungsten (W), nickel (Ni) and cobalt (Co) induced rhabdomyosarcomas when implanted into the leg muscle of laboratory rats and mice to simulate a shrapnel wound. The question arose as to whether the neoplastic effect of the mixture could be solely attributed to one or more of the metal components. To investigate this possibility, pellets with one or two of the component metals replaced with an identical amount of the biologically-inert metal tantalum (Ta) were manufactured and implanted into the quadriceps of B6C3F1 mice. The mice were followed for two years to assess potential adverse health effects. Implantation with WTa, CoTa or WNiTa resulted in decreased survival, but not to the level reported for WNiCo. Sarcomas in the implanted muscle were found in 20% of the CoTa-implanted mice and 5% of the WTa- and WCoTa-implanted rats and mice, far below the 80% reported for WNiCo-implanted mice. The data obtained from this study suggested that no single metal is solely responsible for the neoplastic effects of WNiCo and that a synergistic effect of the three metals in tumor development was likely. View Full-Text
Keywords: tungsten alloy; B6C3F1 mice; embedded metal fragments; health effects tungsten alloy; B6C3F1 mice; embedded metal fragments; health effects
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Emond, C.A.; Vergara, V.B.; Lombardini, E.D.; Mog, S.R.; Kalinich, J.F. The Role of the Component Metals in the Toxicity of Military-Grade Tungsten Alloy. Toxics 2015, 3, 499-514.

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