According to geological records, the deposits of dolomite are many. But in the modern environment, this stone is rarely available. On crystallizing in the trigonal-rhombohedral system, dolomite forms gray, white, tan, and pink crystals. It has an alternating structural arrangement of calcium and magnesium ions and is a double carbonate.
Dolomite has many uses in different fields like aquaculture, agriculture, ceramics, and the steel industry among others. Let's delve deeper into the uses of dolomite and its side effects.
✦ Dolomite is used as a secondary flux to glaze ceramics. This flux has a uniform amount of calcium and magnesium. Ceramics and stoneware made out of dolomite have a good finish.
✦ Dolomite is used for glazing bathtubs as well.
✦ Adding dolomite to aquaculture, helps maintain the pH of water. Most aquacultures have a low pH value. This happens because of the percolation of weak acids from the soil into water. The acidity of water is a threat to the plants and fish inhabiting it.
✦ In the steel industry, dolomite is the primary component used in the manufacture of refractories. It is also used as flux.
✦ Bessemer converters and steel ladles are made using this stone.
✦ This stone is used as a flux material in blast furnaces, as a ramming equipment, and as a fettling material in open earth furnaces and soaking pits.
✦ Dolomite is also used in the production of mineral wool.
✦ Some calcium supplements have dolomite powder.
✦ Dolomite powder is added in animal feeds. It helps the animals get their necessary intake of calcium and magnesium.
✦ Dolomite is used for re-mineralization of desalinated water.
✦ It is a common ingredient of many antacids.
✦ It is used as an ingredient of toothpastes.
✦ White dolomite powder is used in baby powders, face creams, inks, detergents, paints, plastics, and soaps.
✦ Ground dolomite is used in the leather industry. It is used as a coating to prevent abrasion.
✦ Dolomite is used in fertilizers and soil conditioners. It helps in balancing the acidity of soil, by stabilizing its pH.
✦ Dolomite often contains impurities of elements like lead, barium, iron, and manganese carbonate. Ingestion of dolomite can result in lead toxicity.
✦ Storing food or eating from containers with glazes having dolomite, can also cause lead toxicity. The problem is more in case of acidic food. Glazes on bathtubs may also prove to be dangerous as the lead from the glaze can percolate into water.
✦ The powdered form of the stone is widely used in medicines and calcium supplements. Before buying medicines with dolomite, check the USP (United States Pharmacopoeia ) stamp on it.
✦ There are side effects of having dietary supplements that contain dolomite. They include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach ache. Pregnant or lactating mothers should avoid using products with dolomite. It can be hazardous to their health as well as that of the baby.
✦ Dolomite can worsen conditions like hyperparathyroidism, sarcoidosis, and kidney malfunction. Those with these health conditions should avoid dolomite use.
✦ Animals shouldn't be given impure dolomite powder in their feeds. The meat and eggs from such animals is not healthy for human consumption. Also, the excessive consumption of dolomite can lead to gastrointestinal problems and anti-social behavior in animals.
Dolomite has many uses. However, it poses health risks to both humans and animals, if consumed in excess or in the impure form.