Magnesium chloride is a useful chemical compound that lends its utility to a lot of areas such as food processing, de-icing, medicinal additives and so on. But what about magnesium chloride toxicity? Can it be dangerous in high quantities? Let’s find out.
Before we get to the toxicity part, let’s take a closer look at what magnesium chloride is and in what ways does it influence or lives. A salt compound composed of the mineral Magnesium and the halogen element Chlorine, magnesium chloride is the primary predecessor form of metallic magnesium in its hydrated form. Magnesium chloride is found in abundance in sea water as well as naturally occurring brine water sources. Magnesium chloride is the primary coagulant that is used in making tofu from soy milk, and is often included in small quantities in baby food formulas.
Besides its use for culinary and dietary additive purposes, other magnesium chloride uses are also as a de-icer to prevent snow and ice from sticking stubbornly to roads and highways. This makes clearing up after a snowstorm easier. Spraying liquid or powdered magnesium chloride over dusty and undeveloped land areas decreases erosion by absorbing moisture which keeps the dust from flying all around. Now, let’s take a look at various aspects of magnesium chloride toxicity.
Is Magnesium Chloride Toxic?
Well, that depends upon a lot of factors – the form of life that comes in contact with it, the quantities of it to which such a life form is exposed, etc. As far as plants and trees are concerned, while magnesium chloride is an essential nutrient for their growth and development, too much of it can lead to foliage damage. However, here, the chlorine content of the compound is more to blame than magnesium. Magnesium chloride poisoning symptoms in plants include necrosis of foliage, with leaves dying out leading to the eventual demise of the entire plant. Too much magnesium chloride in the water and soil can also tamper with the plant’s capacity to absorb and retain nutrients. However, compared to sodium chloride, magnesium chloride is much less toxic to plants.
Magnesium chloride poisoning in humans and other mammals is not that pronounced, as this water-soluble compound is easily passed out of the body via the urine, even if consumed in excess, not allowing any significant amount of it to accumulate inside the body. However, while the most common side effect of having too much magnesium chloride in the system goes as far as getting symptoms similar to diarrhea, some serious conditions can also take place, though such incidences are rare.
Gastrointestinal irritations culminating in slight nausea and intestinal obstruction (which is extremely rare and will happen only if magnesium chloride is taken by the handfuls or similar abnormally large quantities) may occur, though passing loose and watery stools is usually the farthest that magnesium chloride toxicity goes! Other extremely rare cases of toxic reactions to magnesium chloride may include a drop in the blood pressure of the affected individual, and an overall limp feeling, owing to magnesium chloride’s neuromuscular transmission suppressing effects on the central nervous system. This can be felt as muscular weakness, fatigue, partial and temporary loss of tendon reflexes, mental confusion as well as a drowsy disposition. Hypocalcemia may also take place, though this is also not very common.
Besides these indications, magnesium chloride will invariably induce a lot of undesirable, if not toxic, effects on individuals who are allergic to this chemical compound. However, the most common toxic effect of ingesting too much magnesium chloride at one go is diarrhea, which will make you pay frequent visits to the bathroom at the most! In such as situation, drinking lots of water helps by flushing out the excess magnesium chloride from your system, besides preventing your body from getting dehydrated. Also, generic diarrhea medications and remedies can also be taken. However, consulting a doctor is always a good idea before you embark upon a self-medication mission!