Barium is a toxic chemical element in the periodic table that has the symbol Ba and atomic number 56. A soft silvery metallic element, barium is an alkaline earth metal and melts at a very high temperature. Its oxide is called baryta and it is primarily found in the mineral barite but is never found in its pure form due to its reactivity with air. Compounds of this metal are used in small quantities in paints and in glassmaking. Barium is a metallic element that is chemically similar to calcium, yet is soft and in its pure form is silvery white resembling lead. This metal oxidizes very easily when exposed to air and is highly reactive with water or alcohol. Barium is decomposed by water or alcohol. Some of the compounds of this element are remarkable for their high specific gravity, as is its sulfate: barite Ba(SO4) also called heavy spar.