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Manganate (VI) salts can be produced by dissolving Mn compounds, such as manganese dioxide, in molten alkali while exposed to air.
Potassium permanganate, also called Condy's crystals, is a commonly used laboratory reagent because of its oxidizing properties; it is used as a topical medicine (for example, in the treatment of fish diseases).
While the element is a required trace mineral for all known living organisms, it also acts as a neurotoxin in larger amounts.
Especially through inhalation, it can cause manganism, a condition in mammals leading to neurological damage that is sometimes irreversible. All of the remaining radioactive isotopes have half-lives of less than three hours, and the majority of less than one minute.
Manganese is a metal with important industrial metal alloy uses, particularly in stainless steels.
Historically, manganese is named for pyrolusite and other black minerals from the region of Magnesia in Greece, which also gave its name to magnesium and the iron ore magnetite.