These minerals below can be found all around the world, most of which are used in a variety of different everyday products, and oh yeah… They’re also some of the most toxic materials known to science!
Check out these 10 deadly minerals below, and make sure to drop us a comment once you’re done.
Coloradoite, also known as mercury telluride, is a recently discovered crystalline mineral formed when mercury fuses with tellurium. Since mercury and tellurium are both extremely toxic the combination of the two elements poses a serious risk of poisoning if carelessly handled.
Also, if coloradoite is heated or chemically altered, it can create a deadly vapor that you wouldn’t want to breathe into your lungs
Blue chalcanthite is a richly-colored blue/green water-soluble sulfate mineral commonly found in the late-stage oxidation zones of copper deposits typically found in arid regions. These minerals a distinctive sweet metallic taste, but don’t go sticking these in your mouth because they’re highly poisonous!
However, you can use the tip-of-the-tongue technique to minimize the risk…. you know… if you really have to taste it.
Hutchinsonite is a sulfosalt mineral made of thallium, lead, and arsenic. Just the sound of that makes you not want to mess with it. Hutchinsonite is thick, greasy, and is similar in atomic mass to thallium, but more deadly. The effects of exposure to this sulfosalt mineral include loss of hair, serious illness through skin contact, and in some cases death.
One of the most abundant minerals in Galena, the principle ore of lead, and an important source of silver. Although lead is normally extremely flexible, the sulfur content of galena makes it extraordinarily brittle and reactive to chemical treatment.
While short contact with galena is harmless, prolonged exposure via inhalation or ingestion of the dust is extremely hazardous to one’s health. Galena also has a cubic fracture, and if hit with a hammer, the crystal will shatter into multiple smaller replicas of its original shape.
You’re probably pretty familiar with this stuff as it was a popular source for insulation in many homes built before the 1980s. Asbestos is not one mineral, but six defined separate minerals. One being a serpentine (chrysotile) and the other five being amphiboles crocidolite, grunerite (amosite), tremolite, anthophyllite, and actinolite.
It was once widely used for a variety of commercial and industrial applications thanks to its strong, fire-resistant, and flexible nature—from ceiling tiles and roofing materials to flooring and thermal insulation.
Arsenopyrite is what they call fool’s gold, it looks like gold, but isn’t…. even though it does have small traces of gold in it. Arsenopyrite is arsenic iron sulfide, and when heated or cooled it releases elemental sulfur, becomes magnetic, and gives off toxic fumes.
Arsenopyrite arsenic is highly toxic in nature and also flammable. When burned it produces poisonous sulfur and arsenic fumes which can be fatal if inhaled in large quantities.
Torbernite is comprised of prism-shaped green crystals that look absolutely outwardly. These beautiful minerals form as secondary deposits in granitic rocks and are composed of uranium and formed through a complex reaction between phosphorous, copper, water, and uranium.
Since torbernite is radioactive and outgases radon, adequate ventilation is needed in the rooms and the cabinets in which these minerals are stored… since this stuff can cause lung cancer.
Villiaumite is a rare halide mineral composed of sodium fluoride. It’s very soluble in water and is fluoresce under long and short wave ultraviolet light. It’s one of the softest minerals on the list, having a Mohs hardness level of 2.5.
It’s extremely toxic and can be fatal if swallowed or inhaled. Villiaumite affects the respiratory system, heart, circulatory system, central nervous system, kidneys, and can also irritate the skin.
Orpiment minerals are yellow-colored arsenic sulfide, found growing below the surface in mineral formations, often near hydrothermal vents. The colors are quite beautiful, but holding the crystals in your hands may release carcinogenic neurotoxic arsenic powder.
Orpiment was traded during the Roman Empire and was used as a medicine in China (seriously) before they knew how toxic it was. Orpiment is known to give off a strong garlic smell due to its arsenic content and may crumble into dangerous powder when exposed to light.
However, when oxidized, this element will produce methyl mercury and dimethylmercury, two toxic compounds that cause irreparable harm to the nervous systems of children. It’s deadly in small concentrations and can be absorbed through the respiratory tract, intestines, or skin.
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