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Hydrazine sulfate is a compound made from hydrazine salt and sulfuric acid. This is considered the inexpensive and commercially available version of hydrazine, because hydrazine sulfate is substantial cheaper than pure hydrazine. Touted in the 1970s as a treatment for cancer and cachexia, the wasting away that occurs when one is battling cancer, it was found in the 1990s to be ineffective against both. Instead, it has been shown to be carcinogenic and toxic, especially with prolonged exposure.
When someone has cancer or any of several other diseases, the body goes through a process known as cachexia, in which the body begins to fade and the sufferer experiences what is known as pathological anorexia. With cancer, this occurs because the cancer cells take in glucose, the sugar that gives the body energy, and processes it in an inefficient matter that uses more energy than it creates. This causes the body, which needs extra nutrition as a result, to take from its excess fat stores. This leads to the creation of lactic acid, which goes to the liver, where it is turned into glucose and claimed by the energy-wasting cancer cells. It is a vicious cycle that results in further fading.
Dr. Joseph Gold is credited with saying hydrazine sulfate would cure cachexia and cancer, because the compound has been shown to keep the liver from turning lactic acid into glucose. This would stop the cachexia process, he said, and would effectively starve the tumor. During clinical trials, though, hydrazine sulfate failed to produce any beneficial results in cancer patients.
As of 2011, hydrazine sulfate has only been used medically in clinical trials. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it for medical use, so it cannot be prescribed by physicians. Though not useful as a treatment for cancer, hydrazine sulfate is used by the chemical industry as a foaming agent and is used to make fiber from acetate. It is also used as an antiseptic and fungicide.
According to its material safety data sheet (MSDS), hydrazine sulfate has severe reactions in humans. Both the health and contact ratings are a three out of four, meaning the reaction would be severe. Contact with hydrazine sulfate is corrosive, and it causes cancer in people when inhaled, ingested, or in contact with the skin. It has a slight flammability rating and a moderate reactivity rating, according to the MSDS.