Antimony is a brittle silver-white metalloid obtained from the sulphide ore stibnite. It is mainly used as a fire retardant for paint, plastics, textiles, paper, rubber and adhesives and in the glass production industry. Its use as an alloy with lead in storage batteries has greatly decreased. It is also used in the semiconductor industry.
It is frequently found together with arsenic and some of the toxic effects described in the past may have been due to arsenic. Organic antimony compounds are used in the treatment of Leishmaniasis which can lead to toxicity.
Antimony is ingested or inhaled and is rapidly excreted in the urine and faeces. Inorganic trivalent antimony compounds are conjugated with glutathione and mainly excreted in the bile and pentavalent compounds in the urine.
Stibine, antimony hydride (SbH3¬) is a highly toxic colourless strongly smelling gas which is formed when an acid reacts with a metal alloy containing antimony. Exposure can happen when charging lead batteries. It is extremely toxic causing haemolytic anaemia and tubular necrosis.
Symptoms of exposure are similar to arsenic but much less toxic. Dermatitis and irritation of the mucous membranes used to be common along with a simple pneumoconiosis among process workers with chronic exposure, but as conditions have improved symptoms have become uncommon.
Acute exposure to Stibine gas causes headache nausea and vomiting.
Recommended sampling time is POST SHIFT - the last 2 hours to immediately following the end of the working week.
Aliquot to Core laboratory for UCRN
A 20 mL random urine sample is taken into a sterile container at the end of the shift at the end of the working week. Ensure that hands are washed and clothes are free of contamination. The testing method used measures only inorganic arsenic levels in the urine, so it is not necessary but desirable to exclude seafood (organic arsenic) from the diet prior to urine collection. Urine chromium can also be measured in the same sample.
Frequency of biological monitoring
The concentration of arsenic in urine generally reflects very recent exposure. The frequency of biological monitoring is thus dependent on whether the work is seasonal. For example:
Seasonal timber treatment
Initial testing should be made in the first few weeks of timber treatment. If the results are normal and adequate precautions are being taken, the tests need not be repeated until a change occurs in work patterns or environment.
Regular timber treatment
Workers should be tested at least yearly. If the results are normal and adequate precautions are being taken, the tests need not be repeated until a change occurs in work patterns or environment.
If a result is above the workplace exposure standards a sample at the beginning or the working week can be taken to exclude exposure at work due to the short half-life (approx. 48 hours) of arsenic in the urine
The sample collection information provided on this site is Canterbury Health Laboratories recommendation and is based on current best practices, for more information or further details please refer to the latest edition of Worksafe’s : Biological Exposure Index (BEI) review.
Ambient (8 - 24 degrees Celsius)
Chilled (2 - 8 degrees Celsius)
Courier to lab ambient or chilled.
The urine pottle used for specimen collection must be shown to be free of Antimony contamination. Urine Arsenic can be measured on the same specimen.
Reports issued by Canterbury Health laboratories will have results along with current Normal population Reference Intervals (RI). For interpretation against Biological exposure indexes (BEI) please refer to the latest Worksafe’s : Biological Exposure Index (BEI) review.
0 – 0.3 nmoL/mmoL creatinine
Conversion to ug/L- multiply nmol/L x 0.122
$59.88 (Exclusive of GST)
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