[[quoteright:350:[[VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Metroid_Prime_3_Samus_Phazon_7632.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Her warranty doesn't cover that.]]

You've got a nice form of AppliedPhlebotinum, and it's pretty powerful. But sometimes it's just not enough. You need [[TimTaylorTechnology more power]]. So what do you do?

Fortunately, you've somehow stumbled upon a [[PowerGlows shiny]], new PowerSource, stronger and easier to use than your current model. WhatCouldPossiblyGoWrong

Quite a bit, actually. See, your "new-and-improved" power source isn't near as safe as your old one. Sure, it'll get you the power you need, but [[PowerAtAPrice at a very high price]]. [[MadeOfExplodium Explosions]], [[PowerDegeneration crippling injury]], and sometimes even [[BodyHorror mutations]] can result if you overuse it. Better hope you can finish the job quickly or [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Zorlak the Planet Wedgier]] will be the least of your health concerns.

Unlike most dangerous forms of Applied Phlebotinum, this one is more likely to be used by the heroes, probably because unlike most other forms, this type's danger lies not in corruption but in simple explosions which would endanger the user more than the environment, making the risk heroic.

One of a number of ToxicTropes. Related to ToxicWasteCanDoAnything. See also PsychoSerum. Sometimes overlaps with SentientPhlebotinum, in which case it's liable to become TheCorruption or TheVirus.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Inverted in ''Anime/GaoGaiGar FINAL''. The villains' power source is the "Loud G-Stone", which has a constant power output which is higher than the G-Stones the heroes are using. Of course, the Loud G-Stone isn't powered by '''[[MetaphysicalFuel courage]]'''. Sure enough, Guy's G-Stone power goes through the roof when he gets pissed off enough, and the rest of the robots follow suit. The Sol 11's "non-toxic" Loud G-Stones can't keep up. Guy points this out in his heroic BreakingLecture: "Everything is because you were afraid! Afraid the G-Stone's power would transcend the Loud G-Stone! The power born from ''courage!''"
* In ''Manga/BusouRenkin'', it is revealed that Kazuki's Kakugane is actually an unstable black version. The Black Kakugane (which had replaced his heart) causes his body to transform and grants him enormous power as a result. Unfortunately, being in this transformed state causes him to drain the life force of everyone and everything around him [[PowerIncontinence nonstop]], and while the transformed state can be suppressed at first, it eventually becomes permanent.
* Sakuradite from ''Anime/CodeGeass'' is this, basically. Rumored to be the Philosopher's Stone of old, significant amounts of it were found in Japan (duh) under mount Fuji. While not used as a power source per se, the primarily electricity-based [[LikeRealityUnlessNoted alternate world]] that ''Code Geass'' universe is based in (as opposed to steam and fossil-fuel based) makes Sakuradite very valuable as a room-to-high temperature superconductor. It is basically ''the'' phlebotinum that makes [[GameBreaker Game Breakers]] such as the [[HumongousMecha Lancelot Knightmare Frame]]. The "toxic" part comes in that Sakuradite, especially in liquid form, is ''very'' volatile. How volatile? Volatile enough to make it viable ''as a booster in a nuke-slash-antimatter bomb''.
* The imperfect philosopher's stones and red water they're made from in ''Anime/FullmetalAlchemist'', which are extremely poisonous in and of themselves, and have an increased risk of [[PhlebotinumOverload alchemical rebound]].
* The prototype GN Tau drives in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00'' have power only slightly below that of the "true" GN drives but their crimson red particles cause cellular abnormalities in humans that prevent tissue regeneration (just look at what happened to poor [[spoiler:Louise]]) and eventually kill the subject (almost happened to [[spoiler:Lasse]] and maybe [[spoiler:Graham]]) in exchange for being far faster and easier to mass-produce. The final mass-production version fixes this issue which also [[LawOfChromaticSuperiority incidentally]] changes the particles' color to orange.

* Starting with ComicBook/PostCrisis version of Franchise/TheDCU, ComicBook/LexLuthor was able to harness kryptonite in a variety of means of bedeviling {{Superman}}. Unfortunately, Luthor learns the hard way that kryptonite radiation is also harmful to humans with sufficient exposure.
* In the Franchise/MarvelUniverse, attempts to weaponize adamantium in SuperSoldiers met problems because adamantium is toxic. One of their first successful subjects was {{Wolverine}}, who had a HealingFactor that kept the adamantium from killing him. The tradeoff for him is that his Healing Factor lost some of its potency.
* In the ''ComicBook/IronMan'' online Infinite Comics story "Fatal Frontier", the discovery of phlogistone, moonrocks that gained special powers after being exposed to various kinds of Phlebotinum (the Power Infinite, the Phoenix Force, etc.) kicks off a wave of colonization and industry on the moon. Tony eventually finds evidence that phlogistone [[spoiler:also corrupts souls.]] After discovering this Tony puts all of his efforts into keeping phlogistone out of anyone's hands while looking for a way to depower it.
* In ''ComicBook/ForeverEvil'', Power Ring's RingOfPower is taking over his body. The ring seems to be growing into his finger and there are prominent green veins protruding from his arm to his neck. He is very concerned about this and wants to get the ring off as soon as possible.
* Ore-13, aka Ultra Energon from the ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' IDW comics. It greatly enhances a Transformers' abilities, but burns out very quickly and leaves the user in a very vulnerable state.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''[[FanFic/SovereignGFCOrigins Origins]]'', a ''MassEffect''[=/=]''StarWars''[=/=]''VideoGame/{{Borderlands}}''[[spoiler:[=/=]''[=Halo=]'']] MassiveMultiplayerCrossover, Eridium hits this trope on the head. Its gas form is extremely corrosive but does well for powering certain individuals and killing off almost any organic matter that it touches [[spoiler:like Flood]]. Slag, the byproduct from mining/refining Eridium, is also hostile to life but makes excellent coolant for FasterThanLightTravel or other high-heat applications.
* ''Fanfic/CyclesUponCycles'': [[Franchise/MassEffect Element Zero]]. As [[VideoGame/StarCraft Kerrigan]] found out [[spoiler: while assimilating the Krogan,]] Element Zero exposure all but wipes out the victim's psionics, with the bare scraps left over interacting with the eezo to make biotics. As soon as this was discovered, the Koprulu Alliance immediately banned all eezo from being brought into their territories and are systematically eradicating any sources of the substance already present.

* ''Film/IronMan2'': The palladium components of Tony's chest-mounted arc reactor decay over time and emit toxins into his blood, slowly killing him. [[spoiler: At least, until he perfects the technology using a hidden schematic from his dead father to make a new atomic element to replace the Palladium.]]
** This is really an inversion, since it's the original reactor that is killing him, and the shiny new one that is actually safe.
** That it worked at all is a minor miracle.
* In ''Film/AntMan'', exposure to Pym Particles without proper protection (like the Ant-Man helmet) can affect the mind, and exposure to them through the course of his experiments is implied to be part of the reason Cross is so nuts, [[spoiler: especially after he starts using the Yellowjacket suit]].
* The black liquid from ''Film/{{Prometheus}}'', officially dubbed Chemical [=A0-3959X.9115=], transforms animals exposed to it into Xenomorph-like creatures - and was most likely involved in the production of the first Xenomorphs - and if ingested causes complete disintegration at a genetic level. In the Dark Horse ''Fire and Stone'' comic series, it terraforms LV-223 and not even the Xenomorphs themselves are immune to its mutagenic effects.

* Naquadriah is the variant unstable form of Naqadah in ''Series/StargateSG1''. It's the basic form of this trope; more power can be taken from it, but it's unstable.
** In fact, naquadriah's instability depends on how much energy you are trying to get from it. Higher energy means ''exponentially'' higher instability to the point where the X-302 attempted a hyperjump via its naquadriah-powered hyperdrive but the guidance computer automatically and intentionally missed the hyperspace window to avoid the craft being blown to pieces upon entry, and the ''Prometheus'' experienced a misjump while using its much bigger hyperdrive. After these incidents and the acquisition of some serious Asgard tech, naquadriah was never used for anything aside from boosting the yield of nuclear warheads - something the stuff is very good at.
* In ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' they try extracting energy from an alternate reality, which will destroy the reality in question. No one has a problem with it at first since the chances of the reality being inhabited are astronomically small. Predictably, the alternate reality is inhabited and they have to deplete the ZPM (their usual power source) to stop the energy transfer before it is destroyed.
* Trilithium, the dangerous form of dilithium in the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' universe.
** In the ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' episode "The High Ground", the Ensata terrorists resort to using a teleporter device called an inverter to carry out their attacks on the occupying Rutian forces without being tracked, although the downside is that it caused severe cumulative distortions in the cellular chemistry of anyone using it, a process which, with prolonged use, could prove fatal.
** The Omega Molecule. The most powerful and dangerous ''thing'' in the universe. So much so that the Federation has a strict policy to destroy them [[GodzillaThreshold at all costs]] (ordinary destructive things just destroys things. Omega Molecules can screw up subspace, meaning ''warp travel becomes impossible in the area'').
** In ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'''s "Course: Oblivion", warp core radiation itself is harmless to normal living beings, but dangerous to beings and substances made of "silver blood", causing them to demolecularize.

* Ghost rock from ''TabletopGame/{{Deadlands}}'' was bad enough, what with miners and scientists using it contracting "rock fever" and spontaneously combusting, and the mineral itself highly explosive. If you want [[TimTaylorTechnology more power]] (and you're in one of the series' far-future settings), make [[ILoveNuclearPower irradiated]] ghost rock. TropeCo/TropeCo not responsible for mutations, cancers, and death.
* In ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' the Shadow Weave is an alternative arcane magic PowerSource, mostly incompatible with normal magic which in itself brings some advantages. Its use involves either [[DealWithTheDevil a pact with one of evil deities]] or taking mental/spiritual damage.
* Warpstone from ''TabletopGame/WarhammerFantasy'' is not merely the setting's local GreenRocks, it can be used to boost magic workings and the skaven use it not only as the basis of their economy, but to power their MagiTek... everything. As a downside, it's a magical, madness-inducing [[TheCorruption mutagen]]. Oh, and if it's used to "enhance" gunpowder, it makes it more powerful, and far more unstable (with a toxic cloud of powder smoke when ignited).
** In fact, the skaven use it in their weaponry with the idea that it's more powerful, but less safe. This is characterized by every single weapon team being devastatingly powerful, but having the potential to misfire, which can range from simply not firing to exploding the weapon and everybody and everything around it.
* In ''Tabletopgame/BattleTech'', the Federated Suns developed a type of [[HumongousMecha BattleMech]] myomers muscles that quadruple their strength when operating [[OverHeating at high temperatures]]. However, it would violently explode when exposed to a certain gas. The [=FedSuns=] would go on to [[ISurrenderSuckers leak the flawed design]] to their enemy, the Capellan Confederation, who promptly began installing it in their battlemechs without realizing the fatal flaw, which the [=FedSuns=] used to their advantage in a spy extraction by dosing the battlefield with the gas. The Capellans eventually stabilized the myomers at the cost of dropping to a 'mere' triple strength increase, though pilots still had to operate the mech within the heat redline zone that would cause targeting computer failures and the risk of ammunition explosions in order to gain the strength increase.

* Phazon, pictured above, from the ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeTrilogy''. Although there is no "safe" form of Phazon: it comes in "unstable and uber-deadly" blue and "even more unstable and uber-deadly" orange, unless you have the Phazon Suit from the original ''Prime'', in which case you take no damage from the blue Phazon. Orange Phazon still hurts, though.
** The Phazon Suit seems to have a lot in common with the Omega Pirate, which the Space Pirate research notes pointed out led to [[PsychoSerum insanity and a much shorter lifespan]]. Fortunately, Samus kills Metroid Prime, who [[TakingYouWithMe tries to kill Samus, but instead]] removes the Phazon before this happens.
** ''Un''fortunately, Metroid Prime somehow merges with the suit, gains Samus's intellect, and spends the next two games spreading [[TheCorruption Phazon]] across the galaxy.
** Somehow, it's not surprising that Phazon is actually the substance of an EldritchAbomination [[GeniusLoci planet]] out to [[TheVirus take over the universe]].
** In the third game, Samus and the other Bounty Hunters are "infected" with Phazon by [[spoiler:Dark Samus]] early on. After a certain point, entering [[SuperMode Hypermode]] can result in "Corrupted Hypermode", which ends with "[[NonStandardGameOver Terminal Corruption]]", [[spoiler: where Samus transforms into ''another Dark Samus'']], if Samus cannot drain the Phazon from her system in time or holds out long enough for her suit to end Hypermode automatically. [[spoiler:Near the end of the game, when Samus lands on [[TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon Phaaze]], the source of all Phazon, it overwrites her DNA to the point where Samus' own gunship cannot recognize her anymore and denies her entry.]]
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianSeries'':
** The games' namesake Tiberium is a virulent crystalline "plant". It leaches minerals from the soil and forms them into easily-harvested crystals on the surface, which is a hell of a lot easier than mining. The downside is that tiberium fields emit extremely toxic gases, mutates local flora, kills local fauna and is unstoppably spreading across the world.
** In later games, blue form of tiberium gives double the resources, but also explodes when you shoot it. And let's not get into the liquid form, which creates explosions visible from space.
** The Scrin don't suffer from these effects. On the contrary, they actually need regular infusions of Tiberium to survive. This is reflected in gameplay by Scrin units regenerating health while on Tiberium. Makes sense, as tiberium is a Scrin xenoforming agent.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' has Exspheres, which are used to power various {{Magitek}} and can be equipped for a combat boost... but without a keycrest made of special materials, they eventually [[BodyHorror turn people into monsters]].[[spoiler: They're also activated by [[PoweredByAForsakenChild human souls]].]]
* ''VideoGame/ArmoredCore4/VideoGame/ArmoredCoreForAnswer'' has Kojima particles, which aren't dissimilar from GM or Minovsky particles, but turns the [=NEXT=]s into {{Walking Wasteland}}s
* Cleria in ''VideoGame/{{Ys}} I'' and ''II''. It bolstered the titular civilization's rise to prosperity, but also caused its downfall. Said to be a corrupt form of Emelas.
* The [[{{Precursors}} ancient civilization]] in ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger'' was doing well using the powers of the sun and the elements. Then they discovered a certain sleeping EldritchAbomination and decided to tap its power instead... Well, let's just say it did not end well. In this case, just drawing from Lavos while it slept worked fine, but once they invented a machine to take much larger amounts, the process managed to wake it up, and that was a huge mistake.
* Data Draining from ''Franchise/DotHack'' is a form of this, as normal use inflicts status effects on the main character, but overuse is much worse. For one, side effects occur more often when you Data Drain more often (due to increased spread of the virus). However, the worst effect you can experience is [[NonStandardGameOver your character being randomly, unavoidably, and irretrievably corrupted]].
* The Lutece Fields (aka Tears) in ''VideoGame/BioshockInfinite'' allow its users to peek or to travel into other timelines. Prolonged exposure to them causes cancer, [[spoiler:sterility and rapid aging]].
* In ''VideoGame/PhantomDust'' [[spoiler:the same Dust that made the original Edgar a RealityWarper with ThePowerOfCreation fatally poisoned him.]] The Dust doesn't seem to have the same effect on anyone else [[spoiler:because they aren't really human.]] Though prolonged exposure to it does cause them to lose their memories [[spoiler:thanks to some tampering from either the second Edgar or Freya who seem to be immune to this]].
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'':
** The magical ore lyrium; its raw substance is toxic and can only be safely mined by dwarves, who then process it into a useful state. "Safe" lyrium can make mana potions for mages, enchant weapons and armor, and help Templars develop their AntiMagic abilities. Too bad long-term use can lead to [[FantasticDrug addiction, mental instability]] and, in extreme cases, mutation - the codex claims that Tevinter Magisters who overused the stuff stopped looking human.
** The sequels introduce red lyrium, which works faster and has even more dramatic effects, eventually [[spoiler: turning you into a lyrium statue or monster.]] The third game reveals that red lyrium [[spoiler:is ordinary lyrium corrupted by the [[MysticalPlague Darkspawn Taint.]] Which leads to unsettling implications about the true nature of lyrium, given that the Taint can only affect living things...]] The DLC mission ''The Descent'' reveals that lyrium [[spoiler:is the blood of massive beings called the Titans.]]
* ''VideoGame/StarCraft'': Vespene gas is used as fuel by every race, but prolonged exposure to the stuff is not good for health, as evidenced by Firebats going insane and catching all sorts of horrible cancers.
* ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'' has imulsion, which after its potential was discovered was used fuel everything from factory machines to civilian vehicles. It also gave most of humanity's remnant a condition known as [[IncurableCoughOfDeath rust lung]] and is the main motivation for the Locusts' invasion of Serra's surface. Prolonged exposure to imulsion turns Locusts into AxCrazy [[EldritchAbomination abominations]] whose sole reason for being are infecting anyone near them, or killing them.
* Certain kinds of slime in ''VideoGame/GhostbustersTheVideoGame'', particularly the caustic and toxic Black Slime. The byproduct of [[PoweredByAForsakenChild an imprisoned Juvenile Giant Sloar]], the Cult of Shandor used it in their rituals and science.

* Shinsoo, the absolute baseline of power inside the ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' is not always agreeable with the human body. Without a certain resistance, people can die in the denser higher levels.

* ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'':
** Energon, in ''Anime/TransformersEnergon''.
** [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers The G1 series]]:
*** In one episode, they created anti-matter for Megatron to absorb and pelt the Autobots with. He subsequently had to eject it later in fear of ''DEATH''.
** The Matrix Of Leadership is ''usually'' a powerup for any 'bot lucky enough to have a high affinity for it. It's also Unicron's kryptonite, so when Scourge (a Unicron-made bot with Matrix affinity) picked it up, he simultaneously got a lot stronger and ''started melting''.
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'':
*** [[TeleportersAndTransporters Transwarp energy]] fuses organic and machine elements, turning Wasp into Waspinator. Unfortunately, it's unstable, and he later fully ''explodes, teleporting'' at the same time. (He gets better.)
*** Nucleon. Created pretty much as an excuse for the Action Masters, it was more efficient and more powerful than Energon, but for some reason prevented them from actually transforming - supposedly forever. This, of course, became the excuse for the Powermasters, who could cleanse their partners of the Nucleon, regain their transformation ability, AND help boost their power levels to the point they were under the Nucleon.
** In ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' Dark Energon is extremely powerful and dangerous [[spoiler:since it's the blood of Unicron. Megatron's abuse of it has dire consequences for him in the long run: he can never join the Allspark (the Transformers' afterlife) thanks to his contact with Unicron's Anti-spark.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' once featured a crook who used a bodysuit made of a material that granted invisibility but became toxic under an electric current. Through his spree of small-time robberies, the man was slowly killing himself. His [[CoolCar invisible car]], however, was probably harmless.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' raw Energon is extremely powerful but also very volatile. The reason the Transformers needed beast forms in the first place was to protect themselves from all of the raw Energon on the planet.