Chelates: Removing metal ions in a controlled way

Chelates are an important component of most personal care and industrial applications. The key function is to act as an oxidizing agent and sequester free metallic ions, which by themselves can cause stability and micro issues within a system. It is common to add chelates to a water phase early in the process. The amount is usually small, 0.1 to 0.5 percent in personal care with up to 1.0percent in industrial applications. EDTA is the most ubiquitous chelating agent with good ability to tie up multi -valent ions (such as Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, and Phosphorus). EDTA can promote greater efficacy of preservatives in a formula. Typically, from a structural point of view, the strength of a chelator is dependent on the number of Nitrogen atoms. An increased number of Nitrogen atoms in the compound makes a stronger chelator. So when formulating, the saying “a little goes a long way” can be applied to chelators and their use in formulas.

Amit Patel, Innovation and Applied Science Manager