Absorption of vanadium from the gastrointestinal tract is poor, not exceeding 2% in humans. Soluble compounds of vanadium are absorbed to a considerable extent after inhalation and concentrated in the lung, but available information is not adequate for a reliable estimation of dose-response relationships. Absorbed vanadium is widely distributed in the body. In animals the highest values are found in bone, kidney, liver, and spleen. Bone maintains essentially unchanged levels for several weeks. Low concentrations have been detected in brain and in animal placenta and testes. Urine is the dominating route of excretion of absorbed vanadium. Animal and human data indicate that excretion occurs in at least two phases. A three-compartment model for elimination is described in humans with half-times after intravenous injection of 1.2 hours, 26 hours, and 10-12 days. Vanadium is essential for certain bacteria and microorganisms. Some reports suggest that vanadium is essential for mammals, but no biochemical function has been defined in humans. The total dietary intake is estimated to be 6-30 and in some regions up to 50 mu g/day. The use of vanadium salts as a supplement in athletes and body builders has been reported. Local effects in experimental animals are mainly seen in the respiratory tract. They may be acute and chronic, including bronchitis and pneumonia. Systemic effects have been observed in liver, kidney, nervous system, cardiovascular system, and blood-forming organs. Metabolic effects include interference with the biosynthesis of cystine and cholesterol, depression and stimulation of phospholipid synthesis and, at higher concentrations, inhibition of serotonin oxidation. Vanadate has been shown to inhibit Na+-K+-ATPase, phosphatases and several other enzyme systems. Vanadium compounds enhance the effects of insulin and have been shown to lower blood glucose in animal and human experiments in diabetic individuals. Both acute and chronic effects of occupational exposure to vanadium pentoxide (V2O5) and other vanadium compounds have been described. They are manifested mainly as delayed, but reversible irritation of the respiratory tract involving excess mucus production and prolonged coughing, accompanied by bronchospasm, wheezing, and diarrhea in cases of more severe exposure. Eye irritation and conjunctivitis have been reported in workers. Tracheobronchitis may result from heavy, long-term exposure. Changes in lung function indicating obstruction and an increase in inflammatory biomarkers have been demonstrated in boiler cleaners after prolonged exposure. Vanadium is not mutagenic in Ames test. However, pentavalent and tetravalent vanadium compounds have produced aneuploidy in somatic cells in vitro and in vivo. A clear evidence of carcinogenic activity has been shown in mice after inhalation of vanadium pentoxide. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified vanadium as a possible carcinogen (Group 2B). Biological monitoring of vanadium in serum, blood, and urine is used to follow exposure to vanadium compounds in occupational and population studies. Urine analysis, being a noninvasive method, is suitable for monitoring of workers. Reviews on environmental, toxicological and occupational health aspects of vanadium have been published by IPCS (1988), ATSDR (1992), Domingo (1996), WHO (1996), IPCS (2001), Barceloux (1999), HSE (2002), and EFSA (2004).
San Diego: Elsevier, 2007, 3. 905-923 p.