Barium is an alkaline earth metal. Most consumers are familiar with Barium in liquid form as patients are frequently requires to drink it before x-ray imaging. Doctors are able to see any problems in the stomach, digestive tract, and esophagus because barium is opaque on the resulting image. However, Barium is poisonous and can cause kidney damage, problems to the nervous system, and weakening of the muscles, so proper dosage is critical. 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. In most forms it is toxic, requiring 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 of inhaling or ingesting the element. Proper protective equipment should be worn.