What Are the Properties of the Oxygen Family?

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The properties of the oxygen family include the fact that, as atomic numbers increase, the elements in the family increase in metal similarity and decrease in electronegativity. All elements in the family exist in a natural state as ions.

The elements in the oxygen family, also called the chalcogen family, appear in Group 16 on the periodic table of elements. Members of the group include oxygen (atomic number eight), sulfur (atomic number 16), selenium (atomic number 34), tellurium (atomic number 52) and polonium (atomic number 84). Oxygen and sulfur are non-metals, selenium and tellurium are semi-conductors, and polonium is a metal. The toxicity of the elements in this family vary from oxygen and sulfur being necessary for life to polonium being very toxic. Elements in this family have six valence electrons.