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Alumina Toxicology | Ammonia and Latex Toxicity | Antimony Oxide | Are colored porcelains hazardous? | Arsenic Oxide | Asbestos: A Difficult-to-Repace Material | Ball Clay | BARIUM and COMPOUNDS / Toxicology | Barium Carbonate | Bentonite Toxicity | Beryllium Monoxide Toxicology | Bismuth Trioxide Toxicology | Boron Compounds and Their Toxicity | Brown Stain | Cadmium Toxicity | Calcium Carbonate Toxicology | Carbon Monoxide Toxicity | Cesium Toxicology | Chromium Compounds Toxicology | Clay Toxicity | Cobalt Oxide and Carbonate | Cobalt Toxicology | Copper Compounds Toxicology | Copper Oxide and Carbonate | Cristobalite Toxicity | Cryolite and Ceramics | Dealing With Dust in Ceramics | Diatomaceous Earth Toxicology | Dioxins in Clays | Epsom Salts | Eye Injuries Due to Radiation | Feldspar | Fighting Micro-Organisms in Ceramics | Fluorine Gas | Gallium Oxide Toxicology | Hafnium Oxide Toxicty | Hydrofluoric Acid Toxicity | Iron oxide and Hematite | Lead Chromate | Lead in Ceramic Glazes | Lead Toxicology | Lithium Carbonate Toxicity | Lithium Toxicology | Man-Made Vitreous Fibers (MMVF) Toxicology | Man-Made Vitreous Fibers Safety Update | Manganese and Parkinsons by Jane Watkins | Manganese in Clay Bodies | Manganese Inorganic Compounds Toxicology | Manganese Toxicity by Elke Blodgett | Manganese: Creativity and Illness by Dierdre O'Reilly | Molybdenum Compounds Toxicology | Nickel Compounds Toxicity | Niobium Oxide Toxicity | Occupational Dermatoses | Overview of Material Safety by Gavin Stairs | Paraffin Toxicology | Perlite Toxicity | Plant Ash Toxicity | Potassium Carbonate Toxicity | Pregnancy and Ceramics | Propane Toxicology | Quartz Toxicity | Quartz Toxicity on Clayart | Rare Earth Compounds Toxicity | Rubidium and Cesium Toxicology | Rutile Toxicology | Silicosis and Screening | Silver Compounds Toxicology | Sodium Azide Toxicology | Sodium Carbonate Toxicology | Sodium Silicate Powder Toxicology | Stannous Chloride Toxicity | Strontium Carbonate Toxicity Note | Sulfur Dioxide Toxicity | Talc Hazards Overview | Talc Toxicology | Thallium Oxide Toxicology | The Use of Barium in Clay Bodies | Thorium Dioxide Toxicity | Tin Inorganic Compounds | Titanium Dioxide Toxicology | Toxicological Assessment of Zeolites | Tungsten Compounds Toxicology | Understanding Acronyms on MSDS's | Uranium and Ceramics | Vanadium and Compounds Toxicology | Vermiculite | Zinc Compounds Toxicology | Zirconium Compounds Toxicity | Zirconium Encapsulated Stains Toxicity

Lithium Carbonate Toxicity

Following is a sample of a warning you might see on a bag of lithium:

"By OSHA definition, lithium carbonate is not an acutely toxic chemical, but accidental inhalation or ingestion of large amounts (more than a few grams) could cause tremors, nausea or, in extreme cases, fatality. Avoid inhalation of nuisance dust containing lithium carbonate to avoid respiratory impairment. There is a slightly higher than normal risk of birth defects among pregnant women on lithium carbonate therapy (about 1000 mg/day), but there is no evidence of such effects at lower levels. Nevertheless we recommend that pregnant women be excluded from processes where exposure to lithium carbonate is in excess of 5 mg/m3."

The prescription of lithium carbonate is wide spread (at near toxic levels for manic depression). It value relates to its substitution for sodium in the conveyance of brain signals. Many studies have been done on the side effects (i.e. skin disorders, kidney dysfunction, nervous system damage, birth defects). The blood levels considered therapeutic for some people are supposedly toxic to others. Since so many people are on precisely controlled lithium therapy there is a risk involved in using glazes that leach additional lithium into these people039;s systems. Thus there is some need for caution about providing additional sources.

Lithium carbonate is slightly soluble in water (one gram dissolves in 78 ml cold, 140 ml boiling water).

However there are also those who hold that leachates from glazes are not enough to be significant. The subject of lithium toxicity has often been dealt with on the Clayart discussion group on the internet and the whole spectrum of opinions have been represented (with well informed people on both sides). Even people on lithium therapy have contributed and claimed that symptoms of toxicity are very evident and there is ample warning before toxic levels are reached.

Here is one guideline: The usual dosage used to treat patients with bipolar disease is 150 to 600 mgs three to four times per day (maximum amount being 2400 mg per day). Also, do not underestimate the amount of metal a very unbalanced glaze can leach (i.e. 10,000 ppm has been documented).

By Tony Hansen
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Related Information


Materials Lithium Carbonate
A powerful melter very valuable in ceramic glazes. It is 40% Li2O and has an LOI of 60% (lost as CO2 on firing). This material in now incredibly expensive.
Hazards Lithium Toxicology
Lithium Carbonate at

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