Magnesium sulfate monohydrate is an inorganic chemical compound that is a hydrated salt. It is commonly found in food and is used for a number of purposes. For example, magnesium sulfate is a popular additive in detergents. Other common uses are as a coagulant in tofu and as a brewing salt.
In nature, magnesium sulfate is found as a crystalline mineral called kieserite. This mineral is greyish white, crystalline powder with about 22% sulphur.
Magnesium sulfate is an osmotic laxative agent at high doses. However, its laxative effect is temporary and transient. Normally, magnesium sulfate shows its effects only after acute exposures above the limit dose of 1,000 mg/kg/day.
Despite its osmotic laxative properties, it has no known neurotoxic effects. Furthermore, it has shown low levels of acute toxicity in a rat study and no toxicological endpoints of concern. The only significant toxicity of magnesium sulfate in humans is dermal irritation.
In addition, magnesium sulfate has been investigated for its potential carcinogenicity. A 1-year inhalation cancer study in rats revealed no evidence of mutagenic or carcinogenic effects. These results, combined with the relative lack of data on its reproductive and developmental toxicity, led the EPA to consider its safety.
Another consideration is its use in non-pesticidal agricultural chemicals. Magnesium sulfate plays an important role in enhancing enzyme action. It also is useful in removing splinters from bones.
Finally, it is used in the preparation of certain cements. In particular, it is used to test aggregates for soundness.