Zeolite is a term that derives from the Greek and indicates a particular group of microporous volcanic minerals of which the earth’s crust is rich. In fact, they abound in volcanic rocks and in lakes of saline origin and are known for their ability to absorb or exchange harmful substances. The discovery of the catalytic action of zeolites dates back to 1756 and is due to the mineralogist AF Cronstedt who noticed their warming, swelling and the emission of water vapor immediately after being wet.
Absorbent and chelating action of heavy metals: uses of zeolite
The porous structure and the presence of ions inside them, allows the zeolites to absorb metals harmful to health such as, for example, lead, chromium, nickel, zinc. Volcanic stones show, together with a loss of gloss and transparency, a change in color, which from white becomes pink or brown, in the presence of organic inclusions and iron oxides.
Thanks to the studies carried out, today the zeolites are used in many sectors, from geology to the chemical industry up to the health field. Some examples:
- thanks to the selective activity, the zeolites are used in equipment that can eliminate the excess calcium present in the water;
- they are used as ion exchangers to remove ammonium ions and heavy metals from industrial wastewater;
- in the nuclear sector they are used to remove radioactive elements from water;
- in the petrochemical industry they are used for oil processing.
Biological action on tissues
Zeolites are used precisely for their absorbent, chelating and antioxidant properties . They are commercially available in the form of medical devices in capsules that can be taken in the following situations: convalescence, oxidative stress, prolonged exposure to heavy metals.
They are valid aids that, with a natural action, boast a detoxifying effect, reducing any damage caused by chemotherapy, pharmacological treatments and prolonged exposure to harmful substances. The channels inside the zeolites are able to “swallow”, at an intestinal level, in a natural way, the harmful substances including ammonium, toxins and heavy metals. Zeolites have proven safe because they are not absorbed by the body but simply pass through it.