Everything You Need to Know About EDTA Acid

EDTA is an acronym for Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid and is a chelation agent first synthesized in 1930. The word chelation has its roots in Greek, meaning “to claw”. Hence, EDTA has a claw-like molecular arrangement that binds to toxins and metals easily.

Due to its excellent binding properties, EDTA works as a chelation agent in chelation therapy. In addition, it is also present in cancer-preventing medicines. It also works for analyzing the brain damage caused by lead poisoning.

EDTA has prominent applications in other areas, like the food industry, cosmetics, etc. However, there are some side effects to using it as a chelation agent. To read more about the compound, scroll through the article.

Chemical Structure

EDTA is a tetraprotic acid that contains ethylene diamine. However, the four acetic acid groups replace the hydrogens from the amine group. Resultantly, EDTA has four carboxyl and two amino groups in its structure.

It is a hexadentate chelating agent which is available in the form of disodium salts. When added to water, it ionizes to form H2Y−2 and releases H+ ions when reacted with metals. It is readily soluble in compounds like ammonia solution, sodium carbonate, and sodium hydroxide. However, it is insoluble in water and other organic solvents. The decomposing temperature of EDTA is 240˚C.

When EDTA combines with metal, it forms a chelation complex. However, it is essential to note that the formation of the complex depends on the pH of the combining medium.

Due to its atomic arrangement, EDTA binds to the harmful minerals and salts in the body and prevents them from spreading further.

Is EDTA Available In Foods?

EDTA has many medical benefits. Therefore, people wonder if they can consume the compound instead of injecting it. However, the compound doesn’t occur naturally. Consequently, it is absent in natural fruits and vegetables.

It is present in canned fruits and vegetables, sodas, mayonnaise, and other salad dressings to preserve, stabilize, and enhance the texture and flavors of food.

Does EDTA Have Any Side Effects?

EDTA is a chelating agent, and more intake adversely affects the body. Below is a list of some common adverse effects of EDTA.

  • Higher proportions of EDTA in the human body lead to kidney pain and kidney failure.
  • It also causes acute diseases like anemia, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. Moreover, it can alter the natural pace of the heart.
  • Some other side effects observed include headaches, fatigue, abnormal calcium levels in the blood, low blood pressure, and joint pains.
  • In addition, EDTA also reacts with medicines like insulin and warfarin. Also, it fuses with water pills (diuretics), resulting in unwantedly higher potassium levels.

What Are Some Other Applications of EDTA Other Than Medicine?

In addition to its medicinal uses, EDTA also has plentiful applications. Some of them are listed here:

  • Firstly, EDTA works in metal separation procedures, as it tends to bind to metal ions easily.
  • Its binding properties also make it suitable as an anti-scaling agent as the primary constituent of scale is calcium, a metal.
  • EDTA finds its working space in the bleaching, dying, and coloring industry. Moreover, it also works as an initiator in synthetic rubber production.
  • Also, it combines with metal ions to form various salts that have extended industrial uses. Lastly, it works in titration processes as well when combined with ammonia.


EDTA is a chelating agent with amino and carboxyl groups arranged in a claw-like structure. The compound has vast applications in the medical field. It is essential to note that it is not present naturally and must be acquired through medication. However, its self-medication is harmful.

EDTA helps in treating water, dying, and colorization processes. Additionally, it also prevents cancer and lead poisoning in the blood. Skin irritation ointments also use EDTA. Although the compound has countless benefits, it is artificial; therefore, its medication should be carried out after consulting a doctor. However, canned foods include a safe proportion of EDTA.



Osborn has experience with different technologies has given his a unique perspective that is highly sought after by employers. He enjoys working on new challenges and learning new things.

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