The metalloid germanium has found widespread application in electronics, nuclear sciences and in medicine. General toxicity of germanium is low, except for the tetrahydride germane, and few observations on toxicity of germanium in man exist. Germanium is not carcinogenic and even appears to inhibit cancer development and, in the form of the organic germanium compound, spirogermanium, to destroy cancer cells. Germanium compounds have no mutagenic activity and may, under certain conditions, inhibit the mutagenic activity of other substances. High doses of germanium may result in an increased embryonic resorption, but possible malformations have been reported only after administration of dimethyl germanium oxide to pregnant animals. Germanium may thus be considered an element of rather low risk to man.