Barium, Physical and Chemical Properties
The heaviest nonradioactive member of the alkaline-earth elements (atomic number 56), barium is a soft, silvery, highly reactive metal. Its compounds have various uses, particularly in drilling fluids, paints, glasses, and pyrotechnics, but all soluble compounds of barium are toxic to mammals. The insoluble barium sulfate is used as a radiocontrast agent in medical imaging.
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