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Great hopes are being placed on batteries with this very light lithium at their core, much quicker to charge and discharge power (so they say) than heavy conventional batteries.
So if plug-in cars catch on, lithium may be one of the vital raw materials for the auto revolution.
And here in the Salar de Uyuni the experts think that the difficult and poverty-stricken country of Bolivia holds 50% of the world's total supplies of lithium, contained in these vast hidden lakes of brine.
15 August 2009
General Motors (GM) stepped up its commitment to green transport yesterday by announcing plans to open America's first commercial automaker-operated lithium battery manufacturing site.
Lithium affects the flow of sodium through nerve and muscle cells in the body. Sodium affects excitation or mania.
Lithium may also be used for other purposes not listed
* Neurologic effects of lithium toxicity include tremors, lethargy, confusion, seizures, and coma.
* GI effects of lithium toxicity include nausea, vomiting, crampy abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
* Mild-to-moderate lithium toxicity is characterized by tremor, weakness, and mild confusion.
* Moderate-to-severe lithium toxicity is characterized by altered mental status, muscle fasciculations, stupor, seizures, coma, hyperreflexia, and cardiovascular collapse.
Twelve thousand feet (3,700m) up here in the high Andean plains of south western Bolivia, the subzero nights are bitingly cold, but the days are hot even in the middle of winter.
The unclouded sun is reflected upwards by the largest salt flats in the world, the Salar de Uyuni.