Calcium disodium EDTA

What Is Calcium Disodium EDTA?

Calcium disodium EDTA is a white, odorless, crystalline powder, with a faint, salty taste. In the food industry, it is commonly used a preservative and sequestrant.

Description:

The full scientific name is Calcium disodium ethylene diamine tetraacetate.

It is a chelating agent, meaning that it binds to metals. When the metals are bound (or sequestered), they are prevented from taking part in chemical reactions that would lead to colour or flavour deterioration. For example, when used in canned foods, such as lima beans, it prevents the beans from darkening because the iron ions and other metals found in the canning water are bound by the additive and cannot participate in other reactions.1 It inhibits rancidity (disagreeable odor or taste of decomposing oils or fats) in salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces, and sandwich spreads.

Calcium disodium EDTA is made from formaldehyde, sodium cyanide, and Ethylenediamine

Common Uses:

Calcium disodium EDTA is widely used and is becoming one of the most common organic pollutants.2

Besides its use as a food additive, it is used in the textile and paper industries. It is used to improve stability in pharaceutical products, detergents, shampoos, soaps, argricultural chemical sprays, contact lens cleaners and cosmetics. It is used in medical laboratories and dentist offices.

Calcium disodium EDTA has been approved in the U.S. for use in chelation therapy. Chelation therapy helps to remove heavy metals from the body and is used to treat lead poisoning and radiation exposure.

As a food additive, it helps to prevent colour or flavour deterioration. In soft drinks containing ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate, EDTA helps to prevent the formation of benzene which is a known carcinogen.

Foods that may contain Calcium disodium EDTA include:4

  • Pickled cabbage and cucumbers
  • Canned potatoes
  • Cooked and canned shrimp, clams and crabmeat
  • Canned beans
  • Canned mushrooms

Side Effects / Health Issues:

Calcium disodium EDTA is on the FDA priority list of food additives to be studied for mutagenic, teratogenic, subsacute, and reproductive effects.3 In other words, the FDA wants to study it further to see if it is associated with birth defects, cancer or reproductive problems.

Most of the references I’ve been able to find seem to indicate that Calcium disodium EDTA is safe in small amounts found in prescription medicine, eye drops and food preservatives. However, there is a risk that it could cause cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, low blood pressure, skin problems, and fever. It is not safe to consume more than 3 grams per day. Too much can cause kidney damage, low calcium levels and even death.5

E Number:

The E number of Calcium disodium EDTA is 385.

Personal Notes:

I first found about Calcium Disodium EDTA when I read the ingredient list on a jar or mayonnaise. I really enjoy mayonnaise on my sandwiches (especially chicken) and I probably won’t stop buying it, but after researching this post, I think I’m going to try to make my own more often. Of course, homemade won’t always be an option, and if you’re careful, you can find brands that don’t contain these chemicals.

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Sources:

[1] Health Canada Definition of Codes for Food Additives

[2] Zhiwen Yuan and Jeanne M. VanBriesen. Environmental Engineering Science. May/June 2006, 23(3): 533-544. doi:10.1089/ees.2006.23.533

[3] College Of Health and Human Sciences, OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

[4] FDA 21CFR172.120: Calcium disodium EDTA

[5] EDTA: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings – WebMD

 

 

17 thoughts on “Calcium disodium EDTA

  1. Pingback: Experimenting with Molecule-R | Kitchen Gadgets | Food Products

    • That’s a good point. There are definitely alternative brands that do not contain calcium disodium EDTA. It’s always a good idea to read the ingredient list for the products you buy.

  2. Problem is they don’t always taste great. I bought an organic mayo all natural ingredients and we returned it. When I locate a recipe I will make my own.
    Good article. Any idea if it causes hyperactivity or behavioral problems in children?

    • Thanks for the comment Karen.

      I have not read about any links between calcium sodium EDTA and hyperactivity in children but I’m certainly not expert. There are additives (ref azo dyes, sodium benzoate) that may be linked to hyperactivity.

      I’ve been meaning to post my mayo recipe. I guess I need to stop procrastinating and get to it.

  3. After a series of heart attacks and a triple bypass, the M.D.s put me on statins and a number of other drugs. Heart disease runs in my family so my future wasn’t looking good. I did a lot of research and started a daily oral chelation regimen using calcium disodium EDTA and quit all other treatments, ALLl of them. I avoid egg yolks but otherwise eat as I please. I don’t exercise. It has been 9 years and my cardiovascular system is in better shape than it had been in the years prior to my surgery, I have suffered no ill effects at all and I feel quite healthy for my age. If EDTA “sat” in my digestive system as has been claimed, I would be as big as a boxcar. If vitamins and minerals were depleted to an extent that daily multivitamin & mineral supplements could not replace, there would have been related issues by now. There have been none. Statistically, I should have been back to the cardiac unit by now as I am sure most, if not all,l of my former fellow patients have been. Understand that the cardiac industry is a mega billion dollar industry. The claims against oral chelation come from the top and most M.D.s must follow consensus or risk liability. Multi billion dollar industries ALWAYS protect themselves with both propaganda and lobbyists. If it works, don’t fix it, so I’ll continue with my EDTA therapy of appx. 1kg/yr

  4. Karen, I do not believe this would have any effect on the behaviour of children as it does not affect the hormonal balances or the production of any chemicals.

    Tink Thank…all I can say is that you are lucky, and it is almost definitely not the EDTA that is preventing cardiac recurrence. Not to say it is definitely not doing you good, I have not done enough research on chelation to say it is a myth, but quitting all other treatments is definitely a risky move.

    As an note of interest, Diasodium EDTA is also used as an additive in Pathology to prevent blood from clotting in the collection tubes, so while overdose may lead to a reduction in essential metals, it may also lead to an increase in bleeding and bruising.

  5. Pingback: Simple Ingredients- Seeking Simplicity in Horseradish | daily digest

  6. Pingback: Calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetate. Huh? | knowwhatUReating

  7. Thanks for info! We found out my daughter is allergic to EDTA after she drank Sierra Mist! She has had Sprite throughout her life–but her first try of this soft drink lead to horrific hives! We ended up in ER-as a mom it was so scary! It was WORSE than her allergic reaction to penicillin! ER had no idea-we did Benadryl & they went away. A couple days later at her cousin’s house she had Sierra Mist again–WOW! A family member who does medical research discovered the Sprite/Sierra Mist difference. We also learned that Fresca also contains EDTA! I now hear it is in cosmetics & such. I truly read labels now & wish I could find a detailed list of EDTA products! Thanks for this article!

  8. In other words, the FDA is testing this poison on us to see if it does what they intend, soft kill. The FDA approves THEN tests on the general public!!
    My boyfriend works for dunkin donuts and ate nothing but dunkin for 4 months. Ended up in the hospital with kidney stones. Come to find out EDTA causes crystals in the lungs and kidneys. I also worked there and ate there and almost immediately came up with bruises all over my body. The EDTA sucked the iron right out of me. I won’t even talk about what it did to my colon. Stay clear of the FDA and EDTA if you want to live.

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