Q:

What is potassium chloride used for?

A:

Quick Answer

The biggest use for potassium chloride is in making commercial fertilizer, but it is also used by the pharmaceutical industry, in food and in other industrial uses. Transparency Market Research states that the worldwide growth of the fertilizer market is primarily responsible for the increased demand for potassium chloride.

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Full Answer

Any fertilizer with added potassium chloride is a potash fertilizer, and it is used whenever native soil potassium levels cannot support the planted crop. The pharmaceutical and food industries use potassium chloride for sodium reduction and nutrient replacement, according to General Chemical. It is used to reduce the sodium in foods without affecting quality or taste, and it is added to baby food, sports drinks, diet drinks and other low-sodium foods. It is also used as a reducing agent to create high-purity metals, as a reagent in laboratory testing, and in the production of buffering agents and photographic film.

Potassium chloride is also given intravenously or prescribed as an oral tablet as a mineral supplement to raise or normalize potassium levels in the blood, according to WebMD. Proper potassium levels help the heart, kidneys, muscles, cells and nerves to function correctly. Conditions like prolonged diarrhea, vomiting, hyperaldosteronism or use of diuretics may cause low blood potassium levels.

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