Uses of Sodium Permanganate and Its Potential Health Risks

What is Sodium permanganate?

Sodium permanganate is an inorganic compound that has the chemical formula NaMnO4. It is also known as Sodium manganate (VII). This compound is closely related Potassium permanganate, which is a more common inorganic compound that is encountered.

Sodium permanganate is generally less desirable than Potassium permanganate due to its cost to produce. This compound is usually more expensive to produce. But, Sodium permanganate is about 15 times more soluble than Potassium permanganate. Sodium permanganate is mainly available as monohydrate, which is a hydrate containing one mole of water per mole of the compound.

Uses of Sodium permanganate

Sodium permanganate is used for many applications due to its high solubility. Aqueous solutions of Sodium permanganate are used as enchants in printed circuit board (PCB). There are also other uses of Sodium permanganate. Some of them can be seen as listed below.

  • Water treatments: Sodium permanganate is used in water treatments to control the water’s taste, odor, and zebra mussels. It is used in water treatment because Sodium permanganate has the ability to degrade certain chemicals, like BTEX (Benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene), phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chlorinated ethenes. Sodium permanganate is also capable of eliminating hydrogen sulfide.
  • Soil rehabilitation: Sodium permanganate reasons of being used as soil rehabilitation is exactly the same as why it is used as water treatments.
  • Industry uses: Sodium permanganate is used in the industry as an oxidizing or reducing agent. It acts as an oxidizing agent in the oxidation process of o-toluene sulfonamide in order to produce saccharin. Sodium permanganate is also used in the purification of toluene amide. Other industrial uses of Sodium permanganate include whitening/bleaching resins, waxes, straws, oil, cotton, silk, and chamois leather.
  • Antidote: Sodium permanganate serves as an antidote to morphine and phosphorus.
  • Disinfectant: Sodium permanganate, itself, is a disinfectant and bacterial antiseptic.
  • Photography: Sodium permanganate is also used as chemical disinfectant in photography
  • Medicinal uses: Sodium permanganate, like potassium permanganate, is used as a treatment for a number of skin conditions, such as fungal infections (of the foot), dermatitis, impetigo, pemphigus, superficial wounds, and tropical ulcers. Sodium permanganate is used together with procaine benzylpenicillin in order to treat tropical ulcers.
  • Reagent in synthetic organic chemistry
  • Deodorant
  • Sanitizer
  • Astrigent
  • Metal surface treatment agent
  • Metal cleaning formulation
  • Illicit uses: There is also illicit use of Sodium permanganate. It is used in the production of drugs of abuse. Sodium permanganate is also used in the induction of abortion, which is applied topically to the vaginal wall.

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Health risk of Sodium permanganate

Although Sodium permanganate has some beneficial uses, it doesn’t mean that it can’t bring harm to us. Sodium permanganate’s health risk may be caused by direct contact or ingestion of the compound. The effects may vary depending on the way of ingestion and doses. Some of the health risks that are caused by Sodium permanganate can be seen as listed below.

  • Hepatitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Acute renal failure or ARF: which is a condition where the kidneys lose the ability to filter waste from the blood.
  • Severe skin irritation and burns
  • Purple brown staining of the skin (which is caused by a contact with the diluted solution of Sodium permanganate)
  • Hardening of the outer layer of the skin
  • Respiratory problems: Sodium permanganate can also cause several respiratory problems, such as irritation in the respiratory tract, upper airway edema, and chest tightness.
  • Cough
  • Caustic injury (to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract): Caustic injury, or also known as corrosive injury, is an injury of mucocutaneous surfaces (like eyes, esophagus, and skin) with tissue destruction that is caused by a direct contact to strong chemical.
  • Conjunctival discoloration
  • Corneal and conjunctival burns

A more chronic ingestion of Sodium permanganate may have different and maybe more dangerous health risks. One of the effects is neurotoxicity, which is the toxicity that is caused due to the manganese (that includes paresthesias, tremor, and parkinsonism). The manganese neurotoxicity results from dopamine depletion and production of the neurotoxins.

A severe toxicity may occur after prolonged exposure to the compound. Some of severe health risk of Sodium permanganate are:

  • Severe gastrointestinal burns
  • Adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC): DIC is a condition that affects the blood’s ability to clot and stop bleeding.
  • Methemoglobinemia: which is a condition where there are increased levels of methemoglobin in the blood. But, there is a way to treat methemoglobinemia that is caused by the side effects of Sodium permanganate. The first way to treat methemoglobinemia is using methylene blue. The other way is initiating an oxygen therapy.
  • Tachycardia: which is a type of heart rhythm disorder where the heart beats faster when at rest.
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Metabolic acidosis: which is a condition where there is too much acids accumulate in the body.
  • Coagulopathy: Coagulopathy is a bleeding disorder in which affects the way the blood clots.
  • Hepatic necrosis

An illicit use of Sodium permanganate also doesn’t come without health risks. Uses of Sodium permanganate as an abortion drugs (or abortifacient) may cause vaginal or cervical burns and erosions. The effects also come with extensive bleeding, shock, and severe scarring.

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Other harmful effects of Sodium permanganate

Besides causing harmful health risks to humans, Sodium permanganate can also bring harm to other organisms. One example is Sodium permanganate oxidizes gastric mucosal cells. Another example is that Sodium permanganate kills most types of bacteria within an hour in dilution of 1:10000. Sodium permanganate also affects the environment as it is listed as hazardous air pollutant (HAP) due to serious health problems that the compound may cause.

Thereby the explanation of Sodium permanganate  what is it, its uses, health risks the compound may cause, and other harmful effects. Hopefully its very useful and give you more knowledge about Sodium knowledge. Thank you.