Potassium metal is sometimes used as a heat exchange medium. A heat exchange medium is a material that picks up heat in one place and carries it to another place. Potassium metal is sometimes used as a heat exchange medium in nuclear power plants. There, heat is produced at the core, or center, of the reactor. Liquid potassium is sealed into pipes surrounding the core. As heat is given off, it is absorbed (taken up) by the potassium. The potassium is then forced through the pipes into a nearby room. In that room, the potassium pipes are wrapped around pipes filled with water. The heat in the potassium warms the water. Eventually the water gets hot enough to boil. It changes into steam and is used to operate devices that generate electricity.
Until the late 1970s, Dow produced DBCP (1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane), a soil fumigant, and nematicide , sold under the names the Nemagon and Fumazone. Plantation workers who alleged that they became sterile or were stricken with other maladies subsequently sued both Dow and Dole in Latin American courts. The cases were marred by extensive fraud, including the falsification of test results and the recruitment of plaintiffs who had never worked at Dole plantations.  While Nicaraguan courts awarded the plaintiffs over $600 million in damages, they have been unable to collect any payment from the companies. A group of plaintiffs then sued in the United States, and, on November 5, 2007, a Los Angeles jury awarded them $ million. Dole and Dow vowed to appeal the decision.  On April 23, 2009 a Los Angeles judge threw out two cases against Dole and Dow due to fraud and extortion by lawyers in Nicaragua recruiting fraudulent plaintiffs to make claims against the company.  The ruling casts doubt on $2 billion in judgments in similar lawsuits.