Understanding Corrosion in Water Pipelines: A Guide for Pipeline Designers



Last updated: November 30, 2020

What Does Chelation Mean?

Chelation is a process where in ions and molecules bind metal ions, often used as part of a decontamination and/or treatment process.

Chelation commonly is done to soil, but more importantly, is commonly used to treat people. It is primarily used for medical treatment of heavy metal poisoning. It is also used as an alternative therapy to treat heart disease, cancer and other conditions.


Corrosionpedia Explains Chelation

Ingestion or exposure to high concentrations of metal molecules due to corrosion leads to health hazards, such as lead poisoning and thalassemia (iron overload), particularly in children. Because the human body cannot break down heavy metals, they can be toxic to the body and interfere with normal bodily functions.

Chelation therapy involves the injection of ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA), a chemical that binds, or chelates, heavy metals, including:

  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Cadmium
  • Zinc

Chelation has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as treatment.

Chelation is also done to soil, wherein high levels of toxic metal molecules are present. Presence of high concentration of metal ions in soil can be toxic to plants and animals. Chelation reduces the amount or concentration of metal ions in the soil to a nontoxic level. Humic acid and high-molecular-weight components of organic matter are normally used in this process. By this method, there is suppression of plant pathogens and there is an increase in plants' nutrient absorption.


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