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What Are Iodine Crystals?

Trace amounts of iodine are needed for proper thyroid health.
Iodine crystals are often used to purify drinking water.
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  • Written By: Pamela Pleasant
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 17 August 2014
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Iodine crystals are commonly used to purify water. The crystals can help to kill bacteria or microorganisms that make drinking water unsafe to consume. They can also remove certain types of chemicals or parasites. Iodine crystals can also be added to animal foods to ensure that livestock receive the proper amount of iodine in their diet. Iodine itself can be used as a nutritional supplement.

Iodine is a trace mineral and an element. It is found naturally within the body and is one of the heaviest essential elements. An iodine deficiency can cause a number of health problems in both humans and animals, including mental retardation and thyroid problems.

Iodine itself cannot be used to purify water because it has to be prepared first and crystallized. The crystallization process makes the iodine evaporate quickly and become more water soluble. Only a small amount of iodine crystals are needed to disinfect water. Iodine crystals can be highly toxic in large doses.

There are typically regulations regarding the use of iodine crystals because these crystals are commonly used in the production of the drug methamphetamine. The crystals can be legally sold to legitimate companies, but they cannot be exported or re-sold for illegal purposes. Iodine tincture can also be made into methamphetamine but it can generally be purchased legally in most countries.

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These crystals are legitimately sold and used in various products. Iodine can be found in table salt and it is also used in the making of certain types of light bulbs. Pharmaceuticals and cleaning compounds can also list iodine crystals as an ingredient. These crystals can also be used to disinfect swimming pool water and as an antiseptic for humans as well as animals. They can also be used to develop film or by investigators to develop fingerprints at crime scenes.

There are hazards associated with the use of iodine crystals. It can cause severe burns if it comes in contact with the skin. The gas emitted by the substances can be harmful and cause respiratory difficulties or even death. These crystals can produce gas even if they are merely warmed by direct sunlight. Chemicals such as phosphorus and ammonia should never be kept in the same vicinity as iodine crystals.

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