Health - What is radium, Radium has no color

What is radium

Radium is nearly pure white. When it is exposed to air, though, it immediately oxidizes, turning black. The heaviest of the alkaline earth metals, radium is a chemical element whose atoms - like those of the other alkaline earth metals - have two electrons in their outermost shell; this causes them to react readily and form numerous compounds. The luminescent quality in radium made it ideal for use in self-luminous paints for watches, instrument dials, clocks and the like. Unaware of the danger of the extreme radioactivity of the element, many watch-dial painters who shaped their paintbrushes by putting them between their lips, died from the extended exposure to the radium in the paint. With its hazards come benefits. Today, radium is used medically to treat some kinds of cancer. On this date in 1898, scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium in pitchblende that came from the Czech Republic.

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