Calcium chloride is a salt of calcium and chlorine. It is used in a wide variety of applications. Typical uses include as a food preservative, as a diuretic, as a draining aid for wastewater treatment, and as a chemical in water treatment plants.
The presence of calcium chloride in a water solution enhances the effectiveness of salt for melting ice. It is also used to dry kelp, and to pack drying tubes.
When heated, calcium chloride dissociates and dissolves in water to yield chloride ions. This reaction releases an explosive hydrogen gas, which is very dangerous. To avoid this, it is important to wear rubber gloves and a raincoat when handling the substance.
Calcium chloride is a white crystalline solid at room temperature. Calcium chloride is usually a 30% solution, but it can also be a dihydrate. The formula for calcium chloride is CaCl2.
While it is a safe ingredient, it can cause irritation on the skin, in the mouth, and in the esophagus. In addition, exposure to high doses of the compound can cause gastrointestinal problems, nausea, and vomiting. Pregnant women and individuals with certain medical conditions should avoid taking calcium chloride.
Moreover, exposure to calcium chloride can produce serious side effects, including hypercalcemia, seizures, and allergic reactions. Since it is an ionic halide, exposure can also cause damage to the heart.
Calcium chloride is a common ingredient in canned foods and cans. It can also be used to produce self-heating cans.