I know that it is probably highly unlikely and i'm just worrying, but i'd rather be called a hypochondriac than dead.
i picked up a fuse today and was messing around with it. It's one of those industrial type, with heavy silvery plated bolt-on connectors and a rating of 350a at 300vac.
I was messing around with it and I tried sniffing it a few times to see if I could identify what the coating was made of. It smelled kinda like fresh copper. I came back to my computer to research it and found that a lot of stuff like this is in reality cadmium plated.
I read up on cadmium and found that inhalation is the most dangerous way to be exposed to cadmium, and small particles being many times more dangerous than large ones. Digestion seems to be of a small importance (i ate a pizza afterward, but I had washed my hands) and dermal exposure is I guess almost unimportant entirely. Since I inhaled it, that's obviously going to consist of "small" particles.
It's been a few hours ago now and I don't have any of the symptoms that I know of, but I was wondering if perhaps I could have been poisoned anyway. I guess 2mg/meter^3 of air for a couple hours is almost always fatal. If you can't even smell that, the concentration I must have received from smelling it directly off of the plated fuse was much, much higher, though only for two full inhalations.