Calcium chloride is generally considered safe for human consumption and for environmental control, but there is more to the story. With normal use, you will be perfectly safe. Yet, there are dangers in using Calcium Chloride in high concentrations in medical settings. Calcium chloride in pure form can also cause burns, so you need to practice safe handling when you come in contact with high concentrations of calcium chloride.
Is Calcium Chloride Safe?
Calcium Chloride is used as a food additive to make foods taste saltier, keep color, and to keep some foods firm. You will find it in things like pickles where it helps with all three things, providing a yummy salty flavor while keeping those pickles a healthy green color, and retaining firmness in your cucumbers.
You will also find calcium chloride in some bottled waters in order to add hardness for more of a spring water flavor than a purified water flavor.
Of course, everything has its limits, and while normal consumption is fine, you should expect problems with mega-doses of calcium chloride. Just like you can have too much water, you can overdo the calcium chloride.
You also want to avoid straight calcium chloride. Pure calcium chloride can create burns because it reacts with moisture to create heat. Occasionally, when calcium chloride is given intravenously, it sometimes causes other problems as well. The lesson is to not “self-medicate” with calcium chloride since you normally would not experience harmful levels outside of mega-doses or direct exposure to pure calcium chloride.
Calcium chloride is used in making cheese, and that’s one of its most popular uses these days. Though it serves the purpose of firming hereby aiding the clumping together of cheese batch and keeping it stable, it also helps in regulating the separation of curds and whey.
If you’re a brewer, or you know someone who brews beer daily, you’ll probably be more familiar with calcium chloride. It is one of the many brewing salts brewers add to beer to affect its type and quality. You can definitely tell the difference between beer brewed with calcium chloride and that which is brewed without it. It amends mineral levels that are unbalanced and, like in cheese, it alters the pH of the beer produced. This is exactly what you need if you care about producing stable products.