Are Tungsten Rings Toxic To Humans?

It is common to hear many questions about tungsten rings from buyers and potential buyers. Couples, for instance, who are looking for a more affordable option for wedding bands, veer toward rings made of contemporary metals, such as tungsten. However, because of their novelty, there is still a lot to be known about tungsten rings.

One of the most common questions people have regarding tungsten rings is this: is tungsten toxic to humans?

Is tungsten toxic or non-toxic?

It is important to know that before it is formed into jewellery, tungsten exists in powdered form. Inhalation or ingestion of powdered tungsten is extremely dangerous and can cause a common disease among miners, aptly called “Coal Miner’s Black Lung Disease.” Long-term exposure to tungsten in its powdered form can lead to chronic tungsten poisoning, which causes pulmonary fibrosis, dermatitis, and neuropsychological impairment.

But in jewellery form, tungsten cannot be inhaled or ingested and no longer poses the risks mentioned above. Therefore, tungsten rings are not toxic.

Can tungsten rings make you sick?

First of all, you should know that there are two kinds of tungsten rings available on the market. There’s the cheap kind, which is made of industrial-grade tungsten carbide, and there’s the more expensive kind, which is made of jewellery-grade tungsten carbide.

Genuine jewellery-grade tungsten carbide rings, which are made with nickel binder, are safe to wear and generally hypoallergenic. This type also does not react with air or moisture and will not tarnish, corrode, or rust. Wearing a high-quality tungsten ring will not cause any type of irritation and will definitely not make you sick.

However, cheap industrial-grade tungsten carbide rings are made with cobalt binder. Cobalt reacts poorly to air and moisture, which may result in discoloured skin (green finger). Also, wearing a low-quality tungsten ring may cause skin irritation. 

Can tungsten rings cause joint pain?

Tungsten rings are extremely tough and hard, which is probably the reason why many people think wearing one would cause joint pain. This is untrue. However, due to its hard nature, your tungsten ring will not bend around your finger, which can be a problem if you have gone up in ring size. It is possible that your tungsten ring might get stuck if it is too tight.

In the event that this happens, you might be relieved to know that tungsten ring removal is possible (and quite simple). Most hospitals and medical facilities are equipped with the necessary tools to remove tungsten rings.

Can tungsten rings cause cancer?

While tungsten rings have gained a good reputation of being a more durable and more economical alternative to traditional rings, they are also surrounded with plenty of myths, including how they can cause cancer.

Tungsten, indeed, is toxic and can cause cancer in its powdered form. This form of tungsten is carcinogenic, which can be seen in patients showing high levels of tungsten in their bloodstreams. However, studies show that tungsten is only dangerous when inhaled or ingested. Long-term exposure to tungsten alone does not cause cancer, but exposure to dust containing tungsten and cobalt — as well as other metals — may result in lung cancer.

Therefore, wearing tungsten rings will not cause cancer.

Because tungsten rings are quite new compared to traditional rings, it is understandable that people will have a few questions about them. If you have been wondering whether tungsten rings are toxic to humans, we hope this article was of help.