The chemical element known as Barium, which falls under the category of alkaline earth metals, is poisonous and can cause kidney damage, problems to the nervous system, as well as weakening of the muscles. Fortunately, as soon as these symptoms become evident, they are treatable, and the metal will simply work its way out of the body.
Barium has a number of uses, from medicine to fireworks, normally in the form of a compound like barium sulfate. Barium in most forms is toxic, resulting in those who work with it, to exercise extreme caution while handling the element.
Barium is used in many industrial environments, where workers handling high volumes of the chemical, are at risk through inhaling or ingesting the element.
Most consumers are familiar with it in liquid form, when they are required to drink it for x-ray imaging purposes. Doctors are able to see any problems in the stomach, digestive tract, and esophagus, because barium is opaque to x-rays.