This is gallium. It’s shiny, and can be turned into jello like liquid. You can also play with it, without being harmed. But what would happen if you put this metal into your mouth, and then swallowed it? How toxic is gallium? How much could you swallow before being affected? And what could it do to your farts?
Gallium is a pretty strange substance. Look how it destroys this aluminum can. And look at the residue it leaves after you play with it. Now, what would this gallium do to your stomach?
At first, your piece of gallium would most likely be in a solid state. At room temperature the metal is solid, but it will quickly
melt once you put it in your mouth. You’d immediately notice the sour metallic taste covering your entire mouth. The melted gallium would be like a thick paste sloshing around your mouth, coating your teeth, tongue, and everything else with its silver stain.
After you struggle to get it down your throat, it would travel into your stomach. At this point, you’d be wondering why nothing
has happened to you yet. That’s because, in very small quantities, gallium isn’t toxic at all. In fact, we already have some in our bodies, about 0.7 mg (0.00002 ounces). It doesn’t hurt or help our body in any way, and most likely comes from our water, or there might be small traces of it on our fruits or vegetables.
So if you just stopped here, with this tiny bit of gallium that you swallowed and put into your system, you’d be fine. It would travel through your body like any other food does. But this doesn’t mean you should consume gallium, nor do we recommend this at all. And if you ate even more gallium? Well, that’s when things would start to get dangerous.
If you ate more gallium, it would react with your stomach acids. And this would produce gallium trichloride. This chemical compound is lethal to rats, and if you eat enough gallium, it would be lethal to you as well. After eating about 140 g (5 oz) of gallium, it would react with your stomach acids and produce over 300 g (12.5 oz) of gallium trichloride.
Not only would it produce this element, but it make lots of hydrogen gas as well. This could result in some flammable burps, as well as some extra farts. But passing gas would be the least of your worries. As this is happening, you’d also notice some throat irritation as well as difficulty breathing.
This isn’t from the gallium itself, but the gallium trichloride that your body created. In addition to all this, you’d also notice severe chest pains. And the fumes that it produces might be even more dangerous for you. It would start to create excess fluid in your lungs. And you might not even be able to move, as the fumes could cause paralysis.
If you couldn’t move, you’d eventually pass out from the fumes and the difficulty breathing. Unless you got immediate medical attention, you would most likely die. But it doesn’t have to end up like this. So please, don’t eat any gallium. Let’s just stick to the fun science experiments, and occasionally playing with it in our hands.
- Pedersen, Traci. 2017. “Facts About Gallium“. Pedersen, Traci. 2017. Livescience.Com.
- ” Gallium (Ga) – Chemical Properties, Health And Environmental Effects“. 2020. Lenntech.Com.
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- “Necrosis: What You Should Know“. 2020. Verywell Health.
- “What Causes Reflux, Too Much Acid In The Stomach And Acid Reflux Disease?“. 2020. Atlas Biomed Blog | Take Control Of Your Health With No-Nonsense News On Lifestyle, Gut Microbes And Genetics.