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Why Is Trisodium Phosphate In Our Food?

4 min read
<p style="text-align: justify;">So they put it in our food, but they outlaw its use in dishwashing detergent. Seventeen states banned phosphates from dishwasher detergents because the chemical compounds also pollute lakes, bays and streams. They create algae blooms and starve fish of oxygen.</p>

Why is Trisodium Phosphate in our food?

So before you read this I want you to answer a question.  How much poison is ok to give to your kids? Seriously, How much?  Do you not read the back of your toothpaste that clearly says if your child should swallow more than a pea size to call poison control.   POISON CONTROL!  So why do you keep using it?  You must think a little bit of poison is ok to give my kids then.  Right?

Here’s the next one TSP. Its in many of the breakfast foods you feed yourself and your kids.  It’s listed as an irritant.


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Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is the inorganic compound with the chemical formula Na3PO4. It is a white, granular or crystalline solid, highly soluble in water producing an alkaline solution. TSPs are used as cleaning agent, lubricant, food additive, stain remover and degreaser.[7]

The item of commerce is often partially hydrated and may range from anhydrous Na3PO4, to the dodecahydrate, Na3PO4·12 H2O. Most often found in white powder form, it can also be called trisodium orthophosphate or simply sodium phosphate.



Trisodium phosphate was at one time extensively used in formulations for a variety of consumer grade soaps and detergents, and the most common use for trisodium phosphate has been in cleaning agents. The pH of a 1% solution is 12 (i.e., very basic), and the solution is sufficiently alkaline to saponify grease and oils. In combination with surfactants, TSP is an excellent agent for cleaning everything from laundry to concrete driveways. This versatility and low manufacturing price made TSP the basis for a plethora of cleaning products sold in the mid-20th century. TSP is still sold and used as a cleaning agent, but since the late 1960s, its use has diminished in the United States and many other parts of the world because, like many phosphate-based cleaners, it is known to cause extensive eutrophication of lakes and rivers once it enters a water system.[8] Substitutes are generally not as effective.[9]

TSP is commonly used after cleaning a surface with mineral spirits in order to remove hydrocarbon residues and may be used with household chlorine bleach in the same solution without hazardous reactions. This mixture is particularly effective for removing mildew, but is less effective at removing mold.

Although it is still the active ingredient in some toilet bowl cleaning tablets, TSP is generally not recommended for cleaning bathrooms because it can stain metal fixtures and can damage grout.[10]

Chlorinated trisodium phosphate

With the formula Na3PO4.¼ NaOCl.11 H2O, the material called chlorinated trisodium phosphate is used as a disinfectant and bleach, like sodium hypochlorite. Its prepared using NaOCl in place of some of the base to neutralize phosphoric acid.[7]


In the U.S., trisodium phosphate is an approved flux for use in hard soldering joints in medical grade copper plumbing. The flux is applied as a concentrated water solution and dissolves copper oxides at the temperature used in copper brazing. Residues are water-soluble and can be rinsed out before the plumbing is put into service.

TSP is used as an ingredient in fluxes designed to deoxygenate nonferrous metals for casting. It can be used in ceramic production to lower the flow point of glazes.

Painting enhancement

TSP is still in common use for the cleaning, degreasing and deglossing of walls prior to painting. TSP breaks the gloss of oil-based paints and opens the pores of latex-based paint providing a surface better suited for the adhesion of the subsequent layer.

Food additive

Sodium phosphates including monosodium phosphate, disodium phosphate, and trisodium phosphate are approved as food additives in the EU. They are commonly used as antioxidant agents and have the collective E number E339.[12] The United States Food and Drug Administration lists sodium phosphates as “generally recognized as safe.”[13][14]

Exercise performance enhancement

Trisodium phosphate has gained a following as a nutritional supplement that can improve certain parameters of exercise performance.[15] The basis of this belief is the fact that phosphate is required for the energy-producing Krebs cycle central to aerobic metabolism. Phosphates are available from a number of other sources that are much milder than TSP. While TSP is not toxic per se, it is severely irritating to gastric mucosa unless used as part of a buffered solution.

So they put it in our food, but they outlaw its use in dishwashing detergent.
Seventeen states banned phosphates from dishwasher detergents because the chemical compounds also pollute lakes, bays and streams. They create algae blooms and starve fish of oxygen.

So its ok to remove your paint with it, and to eat, but don’t wash your dishes in it because that would be bad for the environment.

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