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Facts about Radium

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Radium is over one million times more radioactive than the same mass of uranium.

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Historically, the radioactive decay products of radium were labeled Radium A, B, C, and so forth (see Radioactivity below).

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On February 4, 1936, radium E became the first radioactive element to be made synthetically.

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Currently, tritium (which also carries some risks) is used instead of radium, as it is considered safer than radium.

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In 1902, Marie Curie and Andre Debierne isolated radium in its pure metallic form.

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Radium (chemical symbol Ra, atomic number 88) is an extremely radioactive element that is classified as an an alkaline earth metal.

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Their method involved electrolysis of a solution of pure radium chloride, using a mercury cathode, and distillation of the product in an atmosphere of hydrogen gas.

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Radium is the heaviest of the alkaline earth metals.

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Until the 1950s, radium was used in self-luminous paints for watches, clocks, and instrument dials.

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Radium is intensely radioactive, emitting three types of radiation: alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays.

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More recently, radium is being replaced by other radioisotopes—such as cobalt-60 and cesium-137—when there is a need for radioactive sources that are safer to handle or those that emit more powerful radiation.

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Inhalation, injection, ingestion, or body exposure to radium can cause cancer and other body disorders.

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At the turn of the twentieth century, radium was a popular additive in products like toothpaste, hair creams, and even food items, based on its assumed curative powers.

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The successive main products were called radium emanation (or exradio), radium A, radium B, radium C, and so forth.

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Radium is luminescent, giving a faint blue color, and is slightly more volatile than barium.

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Of these, radium chloride was the first to be prepared in a pure state, and was the basis of Marie Curie's original separation of radium from barium.

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Radium is highly radioactive and its decay product, radon gas, is also radioactive.

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Radium (from the Latin word radius, meaning "ray") was discovered by Maria Sk?odowska-Curie and her husband Pierre in 1898.

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Radium needs to be handled and stored with extreme care.

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Stored radium should be properly ventilated, to prevent the accumulation of radon.

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Radium is a decay product of uranium and is therefore found in all uranium-bearing ores.

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Radium has 25 known isotopes, four of which—Ra-223, Ra-224, Ra-226, and Ra-228—are are found in nature and are generated by the decay of uranium or thorium.

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The applications of radium are mainly based on its radioactivity.

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The energy emitted by the radioactive decay of radium ionizes gases, affects photographic plates, causes sores on the skin, and produces many other detrimental effects.

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Another remarkable property of radium preparations is that they keep themselves warmer than their surroundings.

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Compounds of radium include its oxide (RaO), fluoride (RaF2), chloride (RaCl2), bromide (RaBr2), and iodide (RaI2).

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The reason for this problem is that the body treats radium as though it were calcium.

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Marie Curie's premature death has been attributed to her extensive work with radium.

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During the 1930s, it was found that workers exposed to radium when handling luminescent paints suffered from serious health problems, including sores, anemia, and bone cancer.

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