Established uses for tellurium are in the manufacture of certain alloys and vapour lamps, and in the vulcanisation of rubber. Semiconductor development has opened up a new area for the industrial exploitation of this element (together with selenium and arsenic), Exposure in industry will generally be to the vapour.
Exposure produces a metallic taste and dryness in the mouth, gastrointestinal disturbance, sleepiness and a garlic-like odour to the breath. Acute toxicity involves the kidney and nervous system.
Laboratory Indices of Exposure
Exposure can be monitored by measuring the element in blood or in urine.
Stokinger HE Chapter 29 – Metals, in Patty’s Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, 3rd Revised Edition, Volume 2A. Eds Clayton GD and Clayton FE. Wiley Interscience, 1981.
Taylor A. Biochemistry of Tellurium. Biological Trace Element Research 1996; 55: 231-240