What Is Zinc Sulfate Used for?

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Zinc sulfate is recovered from zinc ore during the refining process. Zinc sulfate is essential for maintaining healthy body tissues. Zinc sulfate can be taken orally, but in some cases must be given through injection. Zinc occurs naturally in a wide variety of foods including beans, nuts, grains, cereals, dairy products and seafood. In addition to its use as a dietary supplement, it is also an important chemical in industry and agriculture.

Industry

  • Zinc sulfate is used in the manufacturing process for making rayon. A solution of zinc sulfate, sulfuric acid and sodium is injected into raw rayon; it coagulates and is spun into rayon fiber. Rayon fiber is then used in the manufacturing of tires, rubber hoses and industrial belts. Zinc sulfate is used along with sulfuric acid to produce electricity. It has also been found to be effective in the removal of moss stains on roofs because it will not stain or corrode aluminum or galvanized gutters.

Agriculture

  • Zinc sulfate is an important element in agricultural fungicides and is used to protect a wide range of products including cotton and wheat. Pears, cabbage, apples and broccoli will also resist fungal infestation when a solution of zinc sulfate is sprayed on them. A solution of zinc sulfate sprayed on soil can increase crop yields. Zinc sulfate is also used in animal feed to increase appetite, control blood disorders and bone disease and prevent premature death.

Medical Uses

  • Zinc sulfate is most commonly prescribed to help with zinc deficiency and to aid in keeping body tissue healthy. Zinc sulfate is also used as a protection from tissue damage that result from alcohol abuse. Zinc sulfate is used as a dietary supplement when tests reveal patients have low levels of zinc in their system. It can also be used as an astringent for mucous membranes of the eyes. Zinc sulfate protects the skin when used in creams for the treatment of acne, as a sunburn protector and as an aid to the healing of the skin after it is has become burned.

Deficiency Indications

  • People who experience a decreased sense of smell and taste or are dealing with adult acne may be suffering from a zinc deficiency. Macular degeneration or eyes that are extremely sensitive to sunlight can also be indications of zinc deficiency. Prematurely graying hair and dry hair with brittle ends are also warning signs. Zinc deficiency can also be indicated by enlarged prostate and impotence. Other indicators of zinc deficiency may include brittle nails with white streaks on them, mouth sores and dry, cracked or chapped lips.

Warnings

  • If you are experiencing any zinc deficiency symptoms you should consult a physician. Pregnant women and women who are nursing should not take zinc sulfate or other zinc supplements. Talk to your doctor before taking zinc sulfate, as it may not be recommended for your particular problem. Certain foods such as dairy products and other foods that are high in calcium or phosphorus can make it difficult for zinc sulfate to be absorbed by your body. Zinc sulfate can also reduce the effectiveness of some antibiotics.

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