Occupational exposure is the main exposure path for humans, particulary for workers in the hard metal industry. Workers are exposed to tungsten carbide (WC) dusts when the powders are handled or tools are polished, and particles may be inhaled or absorbed via the skin. To minimise exposure, suitable protective clothes like gloves and masks should be worn.


Even though WC particles are taken up by cells, they do not have toxic effects on the organism. WC particles, also in coarser types, are regarded as chemical inert and not toxic. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified WC as non-carcinogenic for human [1].

For the users of tools made of WC an exposure to the particles is unlikely, as the sintered workpieces are extraordinary hard and wear-resistant. Hence, new release of particles during usage of drillers or others tolls is not relevant.


Literature arrow down

  1. IARC (2006), IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans, No. 86: Cobalt in Hard-metals and Cobalt Sulfate, Gallium Arsenide, Indium Phosphide and Vanadium Pentoxide.


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