# What is the cost of a human body, in terms of the different elements that make it up?

Oct 30, 2016

WARNING! Long answer! The elements in the human body are worth about $600 US. #### Explanation: 99% of the mass of the human body consists of six elements: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. They are worth about$576. All the other elements taken together are worth only about $9 more. For the calculations, I have assumed a mass of 80 kg, and the prices are the best estimates I could find. Here are my calculations for the 16 most valuable elements. All the others add only another$0.13 to the total.

$\textcolor{w h i t e}{m l} \text{% by mass"color(white)(mll)"Mass/kg"color(white)(mmll)"$/kg"color(white)(m)"Value/$}$
stackrel(————————————————————)("P"color(white)(mll)1.2color(white)(mmmml)1.0color(white)(mmmmm)300 color(white)(mmm)288)
$\text{Ca} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m} 1.6 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m l} 1.3 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m m} 200 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m} 256$

$\text{N} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m l l} 3.1 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m l l} 2.5 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m m l l} 4.00 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m l l} 9.92$
$\text{O} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m} 65.0 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m} 52.0 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m m m} 0.16 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m l l} 8.32$
$\text{H} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m} 10.2 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m l} 8.2 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m l m m} 1.00 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m l l} 8.16$

$\text{F"color(white)(mll)3.7×10^"-3"color(white)(m)3.0×10^"-3} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m l} 1900 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m} 5.62$
$\text{C} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m} 18.0 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m} 14.4 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m m m} 0.35 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m l l} 5.04$
$\text{Rb"color(white)(m)4.6×10^"-4"color(white)(m)3.7×10^"-4} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m l} 5710 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m} 2.10$
$\text{Au"color(white)(m)1.4×10^"-5"color(white)(m)1.1×10^"-5} \textcolor{w h i t e}{l l} 40983 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m} 0.46$

$\text{Na} \textcolor{w h i t e}{l l} 0.15 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m} 0.12 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m m m} 2.7 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m} 0.32$
$\text{K} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m l} 0.25 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m} 0.20 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m m m} 1.0 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m} 0.20$
$\text{Mg"color(white)(ll)5.0×10^"-2"color(white)(ml)4.0×10^"-2} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m} 2.04 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m l} 0.08$

$\text{Zr"color(white)(ml)6.0×10^"-4"color(white)(m)4.8×10^"-4} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m l} 150 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m l l} 0.07$
$\text{S} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m l l} 0.25 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m} 0.20 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m m m} 0.35 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m l} 0.07$
$\text{Tl"color(white)(m)1.4×10^"-5"color(white)(ml)1.1×10^"-5} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m} 5143 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m l} 0.06$
$\text{Sc" color(white)(m)1.4×10^"-5"color(white)(ml)1.1×10^"-5} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m} 4250 \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m l} 0.05$
$\textcolor{w h i t e}{m} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m m m m m m m m m} \text{TOTAL =} \textcolor{w h i t e}{m m l l} 585$

The results – phosphorus and calcium are the most valuable elements.

You'd better keep eating lots of sardine pizza! The fish and cheese are great sources of these elements.