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Is Calcium Chloride Bad For You?

Also Known As: CaCl2



Short answer

Calcium chloride is a common food additive. It’s safe in your food, although certain risks are associated with its industrial production and medical applications.



Long answer

Calcium chloride is a salt. It's used as a food additive, a medicine, and a means to de-ice roads. It's been thoroughly evaluated by the FDA and doesn’t appear to pose a health risk as an ingredient in your food.

Calcium chloride is often used as a firming agent or a preservative. It shows up in a wide variety of products. It allows cheesemakers to change the speed at which cheese coagulates. It's used as a brewing salt to control temperature and acidity when making beer. In tomato sauce, it's added as a preservative - it slows down the rate at which tomatoes and other fruits go soft. In energy drinks, calcium chloride shows up as an electrolyte.

The minimal amounts of calcium chloride in food are safe for consumption. Calcium chloride does not bioaccumulate in the body - it passes back out through urine. It's not toxic and was approved as safe by the FDA in 1975.

Those who are involved with the industrial production of calcium chloride have a different set of worries. They may experience irritation of the eyes and skin when coming into contact with calcium chloride particles. Calcium chloride heats up when it comes into contact with water - it can dry out the skin and cause uncomfortable sensations of heat. If you're making large amounts calcium chloride, be sure to wear proper eye and skin protection and follow workplace safety guidelines.

Ingesting unsafe amounts of concentrated calcium chloride can cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat or gastrointestinal distress. Call poison control immediately in the event of pure calcium chloride ingestion. Although the symptoms are unpleasant, induced vomiting is generally not necessary.

Calcium chloride has a wide variety of medical applications. It can be used to treat burns, magnesium intoxication, and different heart problems. Calcium chloride cannot be injected intramuscularly, however - it has to enter through a vein. Adverse effects of a botched calcium chloride injection include the feeling of heat and a burning sensation around the injection site.

Possible short-term side effects

  • irritation of the eyes
  • irritation of the skin
  • burning of the mouth or throat if ingested
  • sensation of heat and burning if improperly injected

Commonly found in

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Written by Sean McNulty | 09-24-2016

Written by Sean McNulty
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