Bismuth compounds account for about half the production of bismuth. They are used in cosmetics (e.g. Cosmetic composition with a continuous lipophilic phase containing a new pigment (2000)); bismuth(III) chloride oxide (BiClO) gives a pearlescent effect: Light-stable bismuth oxychloride nacreous pigment and method of preparing same (1961).
Bismuth vanadate is used as a yellow pigment: Yellow pigment containing bismuth vanadate and having the composition BiVO4.xBi2MoO6.yBi2WO6 (1984). Bismuth compounds are used in a few pharmaceuticals, notably bismuth subsalicylate used to treat diarrhea: Antidiarrheal compositions and use thereof (1986). Antacids containing bismuth aluminate are improvements on the old-fashioned bismuth carbonate: Bismuth aluminate for the treatment of diseases of the digestive tract and process for the manufacture thereof (1959).
As the toxicity of lead has become more apparent in recent years, there is an increasing use of bismuth alloys (presently about a third of bismuth production) as a replacement for lead: Lead-free ceramic pink-coloring material consisting of chromium-tin-calcium-silicon-alkali metal oxide plus bismuth and/or phosphorus oxide and process (1982).