Question - What is “hard metal disease”?
Answer-The cited article notes “The term “hard metal” has nothing to do with the “heavy metals” lead, cadmium, and mercury. Hard metal is generally produced by compacting powdered tungsten carbide (WC) and cobalt (Co) (+ some other agents) into a polycrystalline material, a process called sintering, hence the term “sintered carbides” (or cemented carbides).” These authors further state hard metal disease is “an uncommon and still somewhat mysterious occupational interstitial lung disease that affects people exposed to dust from hard metal objects. The disease has been known by various names: hard metal pneumoconiosis, tungsten carbide pneumoconiosis, hard metal lung, giant cell interstitial pneumonitis (GIP), and cobalt lung.” (Nemery B. Hard metal disease still hard to understand. 2007 Am J Resp Crit Care Med 176(1). https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/citedby/10.1164/rccm.200704-527ED)