Due to the increased production of ITO, the potential health hazards arising from occupational exposure to this material have attracted much attention. This review consists of three parts: 1) toxic effects of indium compounds on animals, 2) toxic effects of indium compounds on humans, and 3) recommendations for preventing exposure to indium compounds in the workplace. Available data have indicated that insoluble form of indium compounds, such as ITO, indium arsenide (InAs) and indium phosphide (InP), can be toxic to animals. Furthermore, InP has demonstrated clear evidence of carcinogenic potential in long-term inhalation studies using experimental animals. As for the dangers to humans, some data are available concerning adverse health effects to workers who have been exposed to indium-containing particles. The Japan Society for Occupational Health recommended the value of 3 μg/L of indium in serum as the occupational exposure limit based on biological monitoring to preventing adverse health effects in workers resulting from occupational exposure to indium compounds. Accordingly, it is essential that much greater attention is focused on human exposure to indium compounds, and precautions against possible exposure to indium compounds are most important with regard to health management among indium-handling workers.
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