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Potassium bromide and sodium bromide: what it is for

Potassium bromide and sodium bromide: what it is for

The potassium bromide it has important properties that not everyone knows with precision but it is one of the most important bromides so much so that it is often not specified "potassium”Assuming that we are talking about this substance. Let's see what it is used for and how to handle it, let's also see what other bromides can be discussed if not this one.

Potassium bromide

It is a crystalline salt, it is colorless and highly soluble in water. The reason it is known is the fact that it has strong both sedative and anticonvulsant properties. It is specifically a salt of hydrobromic acid that derives from the union of bromine with a metal, this metal in this case is potassium and it is precisely the reason why we are talking about potassium bromide, but if the metal were another we would go to treat other bromides with the same interest. We can say that this potassium is one of the best known and most useful.

Bromide: what is it for

For now let's talk about bromide, assuming it is potassium, then we'll see some others. We owe its discovery to Sir Charles Locock, a member of the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London who in 1857 used it in his research and "experiments". We can say that this English doctor was the first in the world to use potassium bromide to treat seizures, particularly in female patients.

It is with this discovery that bromide immediately became a cure for epilepsy, indeed, the only antiepileptic drug for human use. Over time, other treatments arrived and gradually its use was reserved only for veterinary use.

We also talked about anticonvulsant therapeutic effect. This means that when used in massive doses it is capable of producing drowsiness but only if the quantities we are treating are close to toxic ones. We can today say that the potassium bromide as it is no longer used frequently but in the past, when there were not many other substances suitable for the purpose, it was much more so.

We find bromide curiously employed in the process of production of photographic plates and films and when using it you need to be very careful. Being a potassium compound it can irritate different parts of the body if exposed repeatedly or for long periods of time and can be toxic if ingested or inhaled.

Bromide: side effects

As we have mentioned, it does not look dangerous even if it is a little bit dangerous, the potassium bromide, since at room temperature it is in a solid state, di white color, crystalline and odorless. However, it is a substance soluble in water and if it is taken in concentrated doses it can lead to nausea and vomiting. It is not over: it has gods side effects on humans and also on animals including ataxia, a state of general weakness, polyuria, polydipsia and polyphagia.

In addition to nausea and vomiting, linked to a 'irritation of the gastric mucosa when in contact with salt, among the side effects we also find some behavioral alterations and skin rashes. We can generally divide these effects into three categories by considering those for inhalation, those for ingestion and those for contact with the skin.

By inhalation potassium bromide can cause lethargy, sedation and loss of coordination. The potassium bromide powder irritates the respiratory tract and thus causes cough, sore throat and shortness of breath. Breathing fresh air should be enough to stop this bad effect. The side effects for accidental ingestion they are always nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Also by ingestion it can happen that potassium bromide causes rash, blurred vision, sleepiness, irritability, dizziness, hallucinations up to a state of coma. If this substance comes into contact with sensitive skin or eyes for a long time, it can be irritating and it is the time that causes redness, pain and skin burns.

Sodium bromide

As promised we see some other bromides besides the potassium bromide. Here is sodium, which is also quite well known. It's a sodium salt of hydrobromic acid which at room temperature appears as a colorless, odorless crystalline solid. We find this salt often used to produce pure bromine by making it react with chlorine gas. It is also present in the processes for the preparation of other bromides such as Silver bromide used for photographic films.

Cupric bromide

The Copper bromide, or copper dibromide, is the inorganic compound with the formula CuBr2 and we can hear it also called cupric bromide because it appeared so when the old traditional nomenclature was still used. Under normal conditions it is a hygroscopic black solid, we also find it on the market because it is used as an intensifier in photography and as a brominating agent in the synthesis of organic compounds. Then there is also the copper vapor lasers, where our bromide is used to produce yellow and green radiation. Although it can be used in dermatology, the fact remains that it can get to cause severe skin burns and severe eye injuries. There is no evidence of carcinogenic effects but it is harmful if accidentally ingested.

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Video: Electrolysis Aqueous KBr with Graphite Electrodes (July 2021).