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Boron group elements

  1. Feb 12, 2015 #1
    I am confused as to why thallium is toxic, while the other members of group 13 are safe?

    (Quotes are from Wikipedia)
    Boron - "Elemental boron [is] non-toxic to humans and animals"
    Aluminum - "... [has] extremely low acute toxicity..."
    Gallium - "...metallic gallium is not considered toxic..."
    Indium - "...is not a toxic hazard."

    Thallium - "Thallium and its compounds are extremely toxic"

    Why is this the case? It seems that I can touch boron, aluminum, gallium and indium with my bare hands, but not thallium. I don't understand this.

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 12, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    While the elements in a group bear some similarities, they are also different. Nothing surprising about it.
  4. Feb 12, 2015 #3

    Suraj M

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    Gold Member

    Tl+ in aqueous solution behaves like Potassium, it is absorbed into the body by potassium pathways, and then it accepts sulphur complexes (ligands). This is harmful to cellular processes whereas In3+ doesn't.
    Bottom line,As borek said there are just similarities between members of the same group. In that way you may ask most elements prefer a Oxi. state of 3+ but Thallium(to an extent In) sow Oxi. state of 1+. It happens due to variations with increase in atomic number. :)
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