51Sb Antimony

Year Discovered


Discovered By


Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.


Named from the Greek words meaning “not alone,” antimony is a metalloid element that is primarily found as a very brittle, bluish-white metallic substance. It is unreactive to air, acids or bases. The most important use for antimony in fire-retardant chemicals that are added to plastics and textiles, especially for children’s clothing. Antimony also is used as an alloy, because it hardens other metals. Alloyed with lead,  it greatly improves the strength and hardness of lead. It also is used in semiconductors, diodes, infrared detectors, batteries and bullets. Antimony compounds are used in paint pigments, enamels, glass and pottery. The symbol for antimony, Sb, comes from antimony’s Latin name, “stibium.”

Biological Benefits

Antimony has no known biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefit in life processes.

Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 0.000003%


Antimony is sometimes found in pure form. It is also obtained from the mineral stibnite (antimony sulfide) and commonly is a by-product of lead-zinc-silver mining. Other antimony-bearing minerals include sibiconite, tetrahedrite and ullmannite. It is mined in China, Bolivia, South Africa and Mexico.