Thallium only in Macedonia

Posted: September 11, 2012 in MK4D
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Thallium is a chemical element with symbol Tl and atomic number 81. This soft gray poor metal is not found free in nature. When isolated, it resembles tin, but discolors when exposed to air. Commercially, however, thallium is produced not from potassium ores, but as a byproduct from refining of heavy metal sulfide ores. Soluble thallium salts (many of which are nearly tasteless) are highly toxic in quantity, thallium poisoning notably results in hair loss. Thallium is extremely soft, malleable and sectile enough to be cut with a knife at room temperature. It has a metallic luster that, when exposed to air, quickly tarnishes to a bluish-gray tinge, resembling lead. It may be preserved by immersion in oil. Thallium (Greek θαλλός, thallos, meaning “a green shoot or twig”) was discovered by flame spectroscopy in 1861. The name comes from thallium’s bright green spectral emission lines.

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Thallium can also be obtained from the smelting of lead and zinc ores. Manganese nodules found on the ocean floor also contain some thallium, but the collection of these nodules has been and continues to be prohibitively expensive. There is also the potential for damaging the environment of the oceans.In addition, several other thallium minerals, containing 16% to 60% thallium, occur in nature as complexes of sulfides or selenides that primarily contain antimony, arsenic, copper, lead, and/or silver. However, these minerals are rare, and they have had no commercial importance as sources of thallium. The Allshar deposit in southern Macedonia was the only area where thallium was ever actively mined. This deposit still contains a loosely estimated 500 tonnes of thallium, and it is a source for several rare thallium minerals, for example lorandite. Thallium and its compounds are extremely toxic, and should be handled with great care. There are numerous recorded cases of fatal thallium poisoning. This fact and that it is water soluble and nearly tasteless led to frequent intoxication’s caused by accident or criminal intent. One of the main methods of removing thallium (both radioactive and normal) from humans is to use Prussian blue, which is a material which absorbs thallium. Up to 20 g per day of Prussian blue is fed by mouth to the person, and it passes through their digestive system and comes out in the stool. Hemodialysis and hemoperfusion are also used to remove thallium from the blood serum. At later stage of the treatment additional potassium is used to mobilize thallium from the tissue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thallium

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