J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1999;37(2):231-7. doi: 10.1081/clt-100102422.


Molybdenum does not exist naturally in the pure metallic form and of the 5 oxidation states (2-6) the predominant species are Mo(IV) and Mo(VI). Molybdenum rapidly polymerizes to a wide variety of complex polymolybdate compounds in solution. The vast majority of molybdenum is used in metallurgical applications (stainless steel, cast-iron alloys). Ammonium tetrathiomolybdate is an experimental chelating agent for Wilson's disease. For the general population, the diet is the most important source of molybdenum and concentrations in water and air usually are negligible. The average daily dietary intake is about 0.1-0.5 mg m.o. Molybdenum is an essential element with relatively low toxicity. Enzymes containing molybdenum catalyze basic metabolic reactions in the carbon, sulfur, and nitrogen cycles. Elimination of molybdenum occurs via the kidney and usually is complete within several weeks. Molybdenosis (teart) is a form of molybdenum toxicity that produces a disease in ruminants similar to copper-deficiency. Little data are available on the human toxicity of molybdenum. A gout-like syndrome and pneumoconiosis have been associated with excessive concentrations of molybdenum, but the inadequate design of the studies prevents an adequate determination of the etiology of these effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Molybdenum / chemistry
  • Molybdenum / pharmacokinetics
  • Molybdenum / toxicity*
  • Occupational Exposure
  • Organometallic Compounds / chemistry
  • Organometallic Compounds / pharmacokinetics
  • Organometallic Compounds / toxicity


  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Molybdenum