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What pure elements, if we eat it in a relatively small dose (around a piece of sugar), can be harmful/lethal for an average human? Is, for example, eating pure carbon bad for the organism?

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closed as too broad by ringo, Todd Minehardt, getafix, hBy2Py, Martin - マーチン Dec 6 '16 at 4:19

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Is, for example, eating pure carbon bad for the organism?

No, quite the contrary.

Activated charcoal (in the form of powder or tablets) was/is traditionally used to treat diarrea. It is listed on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines on page 4.

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Another fun data point: polonium-210 has $\mathrm{LD}_{50}$ of approximately $50\ \mathrm{ng}$ by ingestion or $10\ \mathrm{ng}$ by inhalation. Link

Obviously, the answer is yes for some elements.

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I hear its all about the dose, even water can kill you if you drink too much. And cyanide wont kill you if its a small dose, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWNpO5vvhpk

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    $\begingroup$ OP is asking about small dose $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Dec 5 '16 at 21:33
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Here are some more elements that probably would cause no harm if you ate a sugar-lump sized piece: B, Mg, Al, Si, S, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, Pd, Ag, Sn, Pt, Au, Bi. Probably there are many more. Don't know about the rare earth elements. Also, all the noble gas elements, plus hydrogen, are nontoxic.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sugar-lump sized pieces of most metals would probably break your teeth or get stuck in your throat. Other than that, those you listed are harmless indeed. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Dec 6 '16 at 5:58
  • $\begingroup$ Copper isn't entirely benign; there is some literature on human toxicity (and, of course, it kills plants: copper sulfate is sometimes used to keep roots out of sewer pipe). Trace amounts are beneficial, though. $\endgroup$ – Whit3rd Dec 9 '16 at 4:26
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5 grams elemental at STP assuming no physical trauma:

Immediate serious harm: P and group 1 metals and Calcium.

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  • $\begingroup$ It would be good to mention that you mean white phosphorus. Other forms are relatively harmless. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Dec 6 '16 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ Regarding different allotropes, He would be harmless, but I would avoid eating 3 grams of $\ce{He2}$. $\endgroup$ – Joseph Hirsch Dec 7 '16 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ Unstable particles are usually not counted as allotropes. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Dec 7 '16 at 14:01

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