85At Astatine

Year Discovered

1940

Discovered By

Dale Corson, K. Mackenzie and E. Segre of the USA

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.

Description

Named from the Greek word meaning “unstable”, astatine is a dark colored, metallic looking solid, somewhat similar to iodine, with chemistry that should be similar to the other halogens. However, there is almost no natural astatine on Earth and only microscopic amounts have been produced artificially. Astatine is highly radioactive. The most stable isotope of astatine has a half-life of 8.3 hours. It is too rare to have any industrial or commercial uses.

Biological Benefits

Astatine has no known biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefit for life processes in plants and animals.

Sources

Astatine is almost non-existent on the Earth, and is found only in extremely minute quantities near uranium and thorium minerals. It is estimated that the entire Earth’s crust contains only about 30 grams of astatine.