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Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4), also known as Epsom salt, is a crystalline magnesium salt. It is a common mineral found in many natural sources. It is used to correct soils that are deficient in magnesium, an essential plant nutrient for chlorophyll and photosynthesis.
It is a good desiccant in organic synthesis, and it is used to prepare certain cements that have better water resistance than Portland cement. It is also used as a coagulant for making tofu.
In agriculture and gardening, magnesium sulfate is often used to treat soils that are deficient in magnesium, as it improves their growth. It is also commonly applied to crops such as potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers.
Bath salts, especially flotation therapy, are sometimes made with high concentrations of magnesium sulfate to increase the specific gravity of bath water, thus making it more buoyant. It is also added to foot baths, for promoting circulation.
Treatment of eclampsia, preeclampsia, and premature labor
Magnesium sulfate is the most frequently used medication for treating eclampsia, eclamptic seizures, and premature labor. It has been used in practice since the early 1900s, and it remains one of the most effective obstetric medications today.
No toxicological endpoint of concern has been identified for magnesium sulfate, and EPA does not consider it to be carcinogenic or neurotoxic. Its primary health effect is an osmotic laxative effect, and recovery of that effect usually occurs following acute exposure to high concentrations.
A number of studies have been conducted with magnesium sulfate to assess its toxicity at various concentrations and to identify possible adverse effects. The available toxicity data indicate low acute and repeat dose toxicity and no reproductive/developmental toxicity.