Osmium (from Greek ὀσμή osme, “smell”) is a chemical element with symbol Os and atomic number 76
- Its has very limited uses and its alloys are very hard and are used in the manufacturing of pen tips, pivots, needles and electrical contacts.
- It is also used as industrial catalyst to speed up the chemical reaction.
- In 2011, osmium(VI) and osmium(II) compounds were reported to show anticancer activity in vivo, it indicated a promising future for using osmium compounds as anticancer drugs
- Finely divided metallic osmium is pyrophoric and reacts with oxygen at room temperature, forming volatile osmium tetroxide. Some osmium compounds are also converted to the tetroxide if oxygen is present. This makes osmium tetroxide the main source of contact with the environment.
Osmium tetroxide is highly volatile and penetrates skin readily, and is very toxic by inhalation, ingestion, and skin contact. Airborne low concentrations of osmium tetroxide vapor can cause lung congestion and skin or eye damage, and should therefore be used in a fume hood. Osmium tetroxide is rapidly reduced to relatively inert compounds by polyunsaturated vegetable oils, such as corn oil.
Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmium