Poisoning by barium salts is comparatively rare, in view of the large number of barium meals given for fluoroscopic or roentgen-ray studies, and the frequent occurrence in the arts. Barium chlorid is used in the staining of wool, the nitrate and the chlorate in the green fires of the pyrotechnist, the carbonate and oxid in the manufacture of glass, and the carbonate as a rat poison. The sulphate is used as an adulterant of white powder and in white paints. The sulphid under various names is used as a depilatory. Most of the barium intoxications noted in the literature were due to mistakes or impurities in medicinal formulas, or carelessness in the labeling of the chemicals and compounding.
Barium is found in the Harrogate to the extent of about three to six parts per hundred thousand. The poisonous character of the soluble barium salts was early recognized by James Watt,
McNALLY WD. TWO DEATHS FROM THE ADMINISTRATION OF BARIUM SALTS. JAMA. 1925;84(24):1805–1807. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02660500013009
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