35Br Bromine

Year Discovered


Discovered By

Antoine Jerome Balard of France and C. Lowig of Germany

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.


Named from the Greek word meaning “stench,” bromine is one of only two elements that are liquid at room temperatures (mercury is the other). Bromine is a heavy, reddish-brown pungent liquid that is very reactive, sharing the same chemical characteristics as fluorine and chlorine. Bromine and its compounds are used in lead-based gasoline additives (a use which is currently being phased out), in water purification compounds, dyes, fumigants, pesticides, fire-fighting chemicals and photographic chemicals. Bromine has flame-extinguishing characteristic and is used in fireproofing agents and to make flame resistant plastics. Bromine liquid and vapor is very toxic and must be treated with great care.

Biological Benefits

There is no known biological use for bromine in humans, although it is believed to be an essential trace element for red algae and some mollusks. It does function as a nerve sedative.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefit in life processes in plants and animals.

Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 0.0004%


Bromine is recovered from seawater and sea salts in small quantities. It is also found in evaporite deposits. Bromine generally is obtained from brines in wells in Michigan and Arkansas. Bromine is produced mainly in the USA and Israel, with small amounts from Russia, France and Japan. The only common bromine-bearing mineral is bromargyrite (silver bromide).