Antimony is a chemical element, which is seldom found as metallic ore in nature.



Synonyms/Trade Names:

Antimony Black, Antimony Regulus, C.I. 77050, Iron Black, Stibium.


Sb .


Various modifications exist. Most frequently, it is of rhombohedral structure with flakelike appearance. The crystalline grid is formed by double layers consisting of six-membered atomic rings. The antimony vapor contains Sb2 and Sb4 molecules.

Crystallographic Constants:

4.307 4.307 11.273 60.000 60.000 90.000.

Crystal Group:



White, yellowish, or gray.

Optical Properties:




Powder Diagram:

3.11 2.25 1.37 1.42 (35-732, 35-517).

Natural Sources:

Bolivia, France (Allemont/ Dauphine), Germany (Andreasberg/Harz), Sweden (Sala), and the USA (Broken Hill).


• Antimonite


Antimonite is an important antimony ore and synonymous to stibnite; for details, see under the heading stibnite.

• Jamesonite


Jamesonite is an important antimony ore; for details, see under the heading jamesonite.

• Stibnite


Stibnite is an important antimony ore and synonymous to antimonite; for details, see under the heading stibnite.

• Tetraedrite


Tetraedrite (Cu3SbS3.25) is an important antimony ore; for details, see under the heading tetraedrite.

Medical Importance:

Key Hazards:

Possibly fibrogenic, acute intoxication.

Involved Organs:

Lung, skin, nose, gastrointestinal tract.


Used in alloys, especially to temper tin and lead, in foundries, in electrical batteries, solder, ceramics, glass, plastics and in colors of rubber-goods. World production was 69×103 t in 1977. Main Producing countries are Bolivia, China, Yugoslavia, and Russia.


mg/m3 mg/m3
Australia 0.5
Slov.Rep./Czech.Rep. 0.5 2.5
Denmark 0.5
Finland 0.5
France 0.5
Germany 0.5
Germany (antimoni-oxides) 0.3
Great Britain 0.5
Russia 0.2 0.5
Hungary 0.5
Poland 0.5
Sweden 0.5
Switzerlan 0.5


Antimony, which belongs to the so-called inert metals, usually induces only mild inflammation of the lung parenchyma.

Lung Diseases:

Antimony can induce a benign pneumoconiosis, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, or pleural adhesions.

Clinical Presentation:

Symptoms include productive and non-productive cough, wheezing, and mild shortness of breath during exercise.


Chest radiographs display diffuse nodular or linear shadows measuring usually <1.0 mm in diameter. The alterations are classified into three stages: stage 1 includes sporadic and single disseminated shadows, stage 2 displays opacities predominantly in the central lung areas, and stage 3 is characterized by diffuse opacities throughout the entire lung. Emphysematous changes may be seen in all stages.

Lung Function:

Usually normal.

Bronchoalveolar Lavage:

Usually normal.



The lungs display no abnormal findings except some enlarged, brown-colored hilar and intra-pulmonary lymph nodes.


Brown dust particles are deposited in the distant airways, usually ingested by macrophages, and transferred to the proximal lymph nodes. An increased number of intra-alveolar macrophages and mild mononuclear inflammatory infiltrates may be noted.


Usually good and without serious sequelae.

Additional Diseases:


Antimony exposed workers can suffer from vesicular or pustular eruptions of the skin, which can invaginate, crust and finally desquamate with residual hyperpigmentation.


Nasal septum perforation has been suggested.

Acute Intoxication:

Acute intoxication has been described in persons eating acid food, which has dissolved antimony from cheap enamelware. Symptoms are characterized by acute onset of vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, hepatomegalia, headache, cough, and tachycardia.


Antimony miners can be exposed to dust containing <76% of free silica and may develop silicosis.


search Pubmed for Antimony

McCallum RI: The industrial toxicology of antimony. J R Coll Physicians Lond 23 (1989) 28-32
Elinder CG, L Friberg: Antimony. In: L Friberg, GF Nordberg, VB Vouk (Eds): Handbook on the toxicology of metals. Elsevier, Amsterdam, New York (1990)
Emmerling G, Schaller KH, Valentin H: Derzeitige arbeitsmedizinisch-toxikologische Kenntnisse von Antimon, Bismut, Gallium, Germanium, Indium und Tellur sowie deren Verbindungen und Möglichkeiten der quantitativen Bestimmung in biologischen Materialien. Zbl Arbeitsmed 36 (1986) 258-265
Fraser RG, Paré JAP: Diagnosis of diseases of the chest. WB Saunders, London, Toronto (1979)
Kaur P, Pinkn BP: Plasmid-encoded resistance to arsenic and antimony. Plasmid 27 (1992) 29-40
Kayser K: Analytical Lung Pathology. Springer, Heidelberg, New York (1992)
Lewis RJ: Carcinogenically active chemicals. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York (1991)
Lobanova EA, Ivanova LI, Pankova VV, Chebotarev AG, Naumova AP, Sattarova PI: Clinical and hygienic aspects of the effect of antimony ore on workers in the far North. Gig Tr Prof Zabol (1991) 16-17
Lüdersdorf R, Skulsukai G, Khoury, Schäcke G: Bestimmung von Antimon im Blut. Zbl Arbeitsmed 35 (1985) 314-316
Pinkenstein R, Peschel A, Wieland B, Gotz F: Expression and regulation of the antimonite, arsenite, and arsenate resistance operon of Staphylococcus xylosus plasmid pSX267. J Bacteriol 174 (1992) 3676-3683
Potkonjak V, Pavlovich M: Antimoniosis: a particular form of pneumoconiosis: etiology, clinical and X-ray findings. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 51 (1983) 199-207
Potkonjak V, Pavlovich M: Antimoniosis: a particular form of pneumoconiosis: experimental investigation. Int Arch Occup Environ Health 51 (1983) 299-303
Reichel G: Auf anorganische Stäube mit geringem oder fehlendem Quarzgehalt zurückgehende Lungenveränderungen. In: WT Ulmer (Ed): Handbuch der inneren Medizin, Bd IV: Pneumokoniosen. Springer, Heidelberg (1978) 468-508
Valentin H, Lehnert G, Petry H, Weber G, Wittgens H, Woitowitz HJ: Arbeitsmedizin Vol 2. Thieme, Stuttgart New York (1985)
Wilson JD, Braunwald E, Isselbach KJ, Petersdorf RG, Martin JB, Fauci AS, Root RK: Harrison’s principles of internal medicine. 12th Edition. McGraw Hill, New York (1991)
Wirth W, Gloxhuber C: Toxikologie. Thieme, Stuttgart (1985)