Rubidium: Element Safety Profile

Goals

Determine the health effects and sources of rubidium in humans, as well as any federal or state testing and allowable limits, to complete an element safety profile.

Early Findings

Health Effects

  • Rubidium is water reactive and is moderately toxic if ingested.
  • When rubidium touches skin, it readily reacts and forms rubidium hydroxide, causing chemical burns of eyes and skin.
  • A 1971 study on rats developed a method of chronic treatment using rubidium without toxicity and saw potential human implications. The findings are not publicly available.

Sources

  • Rubidium is the 16th most abundant element in the Earth's crust.
  • According to the Jefferson Lab, rubidium is used in vacuum tubes to bind with and remove traces gases. It is also part of the manufacturing process of photocells and in special glasses.

Federal and State Regulations and Testing Methods

  • Rubidium can be tested for by taking a hair sample.
  • Rubidium hydroxide is cited as a hazardous substance by the Department of Transportation for its corrosive ability.
  • New Jersey has established no safety limits for rubidium hydroxide, but expresses that this doesn't mean it isn't harmful.

Summary of Early Findings in Relation to Goals

For the first hour of research, the research team outlined the scope of the project to determine if the requested information is available.

Information on potential sources of rubidium and its effects on humans is available from reputable academic authorities.

Information on federal and state testing methods or historical testing patterns for rubidium is more difficult to locate. However, information on rubidium hydroxide (the substance that forms when rubidium touches skin) is available and can be provided.

Therefore, we recommend proceeding with the following research to complete an element safety profile for rubidium:

Proposed next steps:

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