Its usefulness arises because of its role as a hexadentate ligand and chelating agent. As a solution, EDTA is a yellow liquid and is also sold as a powder.
• Laundry detergents & boiler descaling: Reduces water hardness. Both rely on EDTA and related complexants to bind Ca2+, Mg2+ as well as other metal ions.
• EDTA is a slime dispersant, effective in reducing bacterial growth during implantation of intraocular lenses
• Prevents metal ion impurities from modifying colours of dyed products.
• Shampoo & cosmetics manufacture — EDTA salts are used as a sequestering agent to improve their stability in air.
• EDTA is used extensively in the analysis of blood
• In the pulp and paper industry, EDTA inhibits the ability of metal ions. Used to sequester metal ions in aqueous solution and in the separation of the lanthanide metals by ion-exchange chromatography.
• EDTA is used for chelation and is also added to food products for utilisation as a stabiliser as well as a preservative. It inhibits oxidation and rancidity.
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