Nomenclature in Medicine

Chemical nomenclature is an important skill that you will use outside of this class. In many ways, it is a primary skill needed in pharmacology and medicine. For example, a common imaging agent used for x-rays of the gastro-intestinal tract is barium sulfate. Despite the high toxicity of barium, barium sulfate (BaSO4) can be safely ingested because it does not dissolve well in water and passes through the intestines with little effect on the patient. In contrast, barium sulfite (BaSO3) dissolves in water much more easily and is highly toxic. Despite very similar names, barium sulfate versus barium sulfite, these chemicals give very different results.

For this discussion board, research (use more than one source) the chemical properties and safety concerns of one pair of chemicals (listed below) and create a thread to answer the following questions. Be sure to back up your responses with your sources. Once you have completed your post, respond to one additional student’s answer for question 4 with an additional example or consequence. This response should be to a different chemical pair than what you used.

This assignment is worth 10 points.

Chemical Pairs (Pick only one):

zinc phosphate versus zinc phosphide

potassium chloride versus potassium chlorate

aluminum hydroxide versus ammonium hydroxide


  1. What are some of the common uses for each of the chemicals in your pair?
  2. What are some of the safety concerns for each of these chemicals? (It might help to look up the SDS for each chemical)
  3. How are the properties and safety concerns of these two chemicals different? Are they similar?
  4. What do you think could happen if you used the opposite chemical in one of the common uses you researched above? What are some of the consequences that could occur? Be sure to include an example for both chemicals you looked up.
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