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tion of oatmeal, legumes (including soybeans), nuts, cocoa, and chocolate. Cooking foods in stainless steel utensils can increase the nickel content if the foods are acidic (Christensen and Moller, 1978).

Dietary Intake

Based on the Food and Drug Administration Total Diet Study of 1984, the mean nickel consumption of infants and young children was 69 to 90 μg/day (Pennington and Jones, 1987). For adolescents, the median consumption was approximately 71 to 97 μg/day, and the median consumption for adults and the elderly was approximately 74 to 100 μg/day and 80 to 97 μg/day, respectively (Appendix Table E-7). On the basis of a national survey conducted in five Canadian cities from 1986 to 1988, Dabeka and McKenzie (1995) reported that average nickel consumption for children was 190 to 251 μg/day; for adolescents, 248 to 378 μg/day; and for all adults, 207 to 406 μg/day.

At 38 days postpartum, the mean nickel concentration in human milk was reported to be 1.2 ng/mL (Casey and Neville, 1987). Based on an average secretion of 0.78 L/day (see Chapter 2), the mean secretion of nickel in human milk is approximately 1 μg/day. According to a report by Dabeka (1989), the average intake of nickel by 0- to 12-month-old Canadian infants was 38 μg/day, taking into account human milk as well as formula consumption.

Intake from Supplements

Information from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on supplemental use of nickel is given in Appendix Table C-22. The median supplemental intake for adult men and women was approximately 5 μg/day. Therefore, adults consume approximately 79 to 105 μg/day of nickel from diet and supplements.


The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) is the highest level of daily nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk of adverse health effects for almost all individuals. Although members of the general population should be advised not to routinely exceed the UL, intake above the UL may be appropriate for investigation within well-controlled clinical trials. Clinical trials of doses above the UL should not be discouraged, as long as subjects participating in these trials

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