Calcium Disodium EDTA: Uses and Adverse Effects

Calcium Disodium EDTA, also known as ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, is an odorless, colorless chelating agent which is usually used as a stabilizer and preservative in many processed foods and beverages.

It is stable over a wide range of temperatures and pH.

This substance was first prepared in 1935 by Ferdinand Munz and it is made from a combination of chemicals, such as – sodium cyanide (an inorganic compound with the formula NaCN), formaldehyde (a naturally occurring organic compound), and ethylenediamine (a colorless organic liquid).

Is it vegan?

Due to the fact it doesn’t contain any animal product, this compound is considered vegan.


EDTA is used as a drug to remove lead and mercury from the body via chelation or to treat someone exposed to radioactivity such as thorium, plutonium, uranium, and strontium.

Heavy metals have a stronger affinity for binding the oxygens and nitrogens of this chemical structure.

It is approved by the FDA for use in chelation (meaning “to bind”) therapy, a process that removes heavy metals from the body. Once EDTA binds to the metals, it creates a substance that leaves your body in your urine.

Furthermore, it is used in pharmaceutical products, detergents, cosmetic products (such as – shampoos, skin and deodorant creams, or soaps), contact lens cleaners, textile industry, agricultural chemical sprays, and in dentist offices.


It is also used as a preservative in many foods like – sodas, mayonnaise, sandwich spreads, sauces, canned (beans, vegetables, mushrooms), salad dressings, and pickled foods.

This food preservative prevents discoloration, rancidity, and the separation of fats and oils. For example, a salad dressing with this food preservative can be kept in the refrigerator for over 6 months.

More importantly, it is used intravenously for blood vessel and heart conditions including irregular heartbeat due to cardiac glycosides – medicines for treating heart failure.

Side effects of calcium disodium EDTA

Ingesting this substance can lead to a deficiency of important trace elements. Adverse effects include – nausea, muscle weakness, vomiting, fainting, myalgia, headache, dizziness, hypotension, thrombophlebitis, heart palpitations, hypersensitivity reaction, abdominal pain, nephrotoxicity, numbness, and fever.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 11 people died from exposure to this poison between 1971 and 2007.

Moreover, due to its chelation properties, it can cause low levels of various vitamins, including various B vitamins and vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency symptoms include – swollen gums, easy bruising, slow wound healing, bleeding gums, gingivitis, dry hair, or dry red spots on the skin.

The vitamin B complex is a group of vitamins, including vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxal phosphate), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folate), and vitamin B12 (cobalamin). A deficiency of vitamin b-complex can lead to various health problems.

Liver DamageLiver

Ingested in large amounts, it may cause diarrhea, gastrointestinal tract irritation, excessive thirst, vomiting, headache, fatigue, malaise, chills, fever, kidney and liver damage, or anorexia.

Also, ingesting more than 750mg/kg/day is cytotoxic (meaning that it kills cells) and can cause developmental and reproductive disorders.

It should not be consumed by people with hepatitis, anuria (a serious condition that appears when the body isn’t producing enough urine), or active renal disease.

In addition, this substance should not be given with ceftriaxone, better known as Rocephin, used to treat numerous bacterial infections or in dental procedures.

In the case of contact with eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of cold water. On the skin, it can cause allergic reactions and skin rash.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

It is recommended to cover the irritated area with an emollient. Pregnant and nursing women and small children should consult a doctor before use.


This food preservative is usually found in packaged and processed foods. Therefore, if you restrict those foods, you’ll cut down considerably.

In addition, having a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables will considerably lower your intake of any type of food additives and preservatives.

But, if you do eat processed or packaged foods, buy organic that has little or no added chemicals.


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