ALKALINE EARTH METALS
The six alkaline earth metals—beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, and radium—comprise Group 2 on the periodic table of elements. This puts them beside the alkali metals in Group 1, and as their names suggest, the two families share a number of characteristics, most notably their high reactivity. Also, like the alkali metals, or indeed any other family on the periodic table, not all members of the alkali metal family are created equally in terms of their abundance on Earth or their usefulness to human life. Magnesium and calcium have a number of uses, ranging from building and other structural applications to dietary supplements. In fact, both are significant components in the metabolism of living things—including the human body. Barium and beryllium have numerous specialized applications in areas from jewelry to medicine, while strontium is primarily used in fireworks. Radium, on the other hand, is rarely used outside of laboratories, in large part because its radioactive qualities pose a hazard to human life.