Antimony (Sb) is a brittle crystalline solid classified as a metalloid element. It is found naturally in the earth's crust at very low concentrations, but use in industry has resulted in greater human and ecosystem exposure. Antimony is used as a hardener in lead for storage batteries, in solders and other alloys, as a flame-retardant, and in plastics and chemicals. Exposure to low amounts of Sb for a long time can cause irritation of the eyes, skin and lungs. As the exposure continues, lung diseases, heart problems, diarrhea, severe vomiting and stomach ulcers can occur. When antimony enters the environment, relatively high levels can kill small animals, or cause health problems like infertility and lung, heart, liver and kidney damage.
The ATSDR is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that serves the public by using the best science, taking responsive public health actions, and providing trusted health information to prevent harmful exposures and diseases related to toxic substances. This site is great for beginners who want to know the basics, as well as more in-depth, honest information regarding antimony.
The U.S. EPA site includes a fact sheet on antimony that highlights the uses of the pollutant, the effects on humans, and the physical properties of the chemical.
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