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Facts about Thallium

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The major source of commercial thallium is the trace amounts found in the sulfide ores of copper, lead, zinc, and other metals.

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The distinctive effects of thallium poisoning include loss of hair and damage to peripheral nerves.

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Australian serial killer Caroline Grills was known as "Auntie Thally" for her choice of thallium as an agent to poison her victims.

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Given their toxicity, thallium compounds were used as rat poisons in the past, but this use has been discontinued in many countries.

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Thangka paintings, a syncretism of Chinese scroll-painting with Nepalese and Kashmiri painting, appeared in Tibet around the tenth century.

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Thallium oxide has been used to manufacture glasses that have a high refractive index, its sulfide is useful in photocells, and its amalgam (alloy with mercury) is used in thermometers for low-temperature measurements.

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Thallium is very soft and malleable and can be cut with a knife.

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Dr. Fйlix-Roland Moumiй, a leader of the Cameroonian anticolonial armed struggle against France, was murdered by thallium poisoning on October 15, 1960.

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In 2005, a 17-year-old girl in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, admitted to attempting to murder her mother by lacing her tea with thallium, causing a national scandal.

image: kvm.kvcc.edu
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Research on thallium's potential uses is ongoing, particularly to develop high-temperature superconducting materials for such applications as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), storage of magnetic energy, magnetic propulsion, and electric power generation and transmission.

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Thallium has 25 isotopes, with atomic masses that range from 184 to 210.

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Manganese nodules, which are found on the ocean floor, also contain thallium, but nodule extraction is prohibitively expensive and potentially damaging for the environment.

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The element thallium is reasonably abundant in the Earth's crust, at a concentration estimated to be about 0.7 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg).

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Thallium (chemical symbol Tl, atomic number 81) is a soft, malleable metal.

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Crystals of thallium bromide-iodide have been used as infrared optical materials.

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Agatha Christie, who worked as a pharmacist, used thallium as the agent of murder in her detective fiction novel The Pale Horse.

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Thallium and its compounds have a number of uses.

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A heavy layer of oxide builds up on thallium if left in air.

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The name comes from thallium's bright green spectral emission lines.

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Around the same time, an incidence of thallium poisoning was reported in Beijing.

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The toxicity derives from the ability of thallium ions to replace other important cations such as sodium and potassium in the body.

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Thallium was once an effective murder weapon before its effects became understood and an antidote (Prussian blue) was discovered.

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The 1995 film The Young Poisoner's Handbook was based on the activities of Graham Frederick Young, who killed at least three people with thallium in the 1960s and 1970s.

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