The ancient Egyptians used it as makeup and today we use it in many ways, “it” is the element antimony. Discovered by the ancients, this element serves many purposes (it is no longer used as eyeliner, like it was for them), but also has many negative effects on people and the environment. Antimony is a metalloid found in group 15. It is a silvery lustrous rock, and its standard state is a solid. It is a poor conductor of heat and electricity. Antimony has many universal applications that are meant to be beneficial to people.
One of its usages is in its form of antimony trioxide, is made into a flame retardant frequently used in toys and seat covers. Of its many functions, antimony is commonly used as an alloy to make other metals stronger. It is primarily alloyed with lead to make it harder. Its alloys are frequently used in batteries and cables. It is also used in some food packaging, usually used as a catalyst in manufacturing polyethylen terephthalate. One can come in contact with antimony in many ways. Antimony is found in the environment, but found in very low levels. The majority of antimony comes from the resources humans use.
The antimony used in human products increase the amount of antimony in the natural environment. There is some antimony in soil, but high concentrations of it are found in wastes sites. The most common ways antimony can enter the body is simply consuming it or breathing its dusts in. Also contact with soil with high amounts of antimony can increase unwanted exposure. Since antimony is used to produce some types of food packaging, such as plastic water bottles, consumption is much more likely than breathing it in and touching toxic soil. The use of antimony in the medical field is very scarce considering it has negative side effects.
To name a few, some utilizations are, compounds of antimony are used as antiprotozoan drugs and veterinary purposes, tending to be used as a skin conditioner, which is quite ironic considering what antimony is known for doing to skin. Antimony is known for having negative health effects. Antimony as well as its compounds are known to be toxic. If one has too much exposure to antimony it can cause major health impairments. A modest exposure to antimony by breathing it in can have an effect on skin and eyes. A skin condition that one can get by contacting antimony is antimony spots.
It is a rash of pustules around sweat glands. Its effect on eye health consists of ocular conjunctivitis. Extreme amounts of antimony exposure can lead to more severe effects on the heart and lungs as well as skin and eyes. And although not proven, antimony and some of its products have been linked to cancer. The only way to prevent any of the bad conditions some antimony product provide, one needs to make sure that one gets as little exposure as possible. It is impossible to steer completely clear of antimony, and it is not necessary, a little exposure will not kill a person, but too much of something is never good.
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