Pollutant Information: Nickel 

About Nickel

Category: Heavy metals and base cations

Inhalation of nickel can cause irritation to the nose and sinuses and can also lead to the loss of the sense of smell. Long-term exposure may lead to asthma or other respiratory diseases. Cancer of the lungs, nose and sinuses as well as the larynx and stomach has been attributed to exposure to nickel.

Emissions have declined by 73% since 1990.  In 2016, nickel emissions were dominated by emissions from the combustion of petroleum coke, solid smokeless fuels containing petroleum coke, and heavy fuel oil, mainly by the residential sector but also by industry.  Combustion of these three fuels across the entire UK economy was responsible for 79% of UK emissions of nickel in 2016 and 71% of emissions in 1990.  In 1990, fuel oil combustion was a much more significant source than use of petroleum coke, and power station, refinery, and industry use of fuel oil accounted for the vast majority of emissions. Both coal and fuel oil use have decreased since 1990, and this is largely responsible for the reduction in total emissions.

» View and Download Nickel emission summary data

Time series graph


Notable events

Start year End year Sector Information Impact
1984 1985 Public Electricity and Heat Production Miners strike resulting in a reduction in the consumption of coal and an increase in the consumption of alternative fuels in power stations for that year. Increase in emissions
2009 2012 Public Electricity and Heat Production The economic downturn has caused significant reductions in energy demands and many industries have made cut backs or closures, resulting in reduced emissions. Decrease in emissions

Nickel contributes to the following...

You may also be
interested in...