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Solvent Alternatives Guide
Sequestering Agents

General Information

  • Sequestering agents combine with calcium and magnesium ions and other heavy metal ions in hard water. They form molecules in which the ions are held so securely (sequestered) that they can no longer react.

  • The sequestering agents prevent salts from recontaminating parts.

  • The sequestering agents may also tie up the active chemicals in a detergent that may decrease the cleaning efficiency and life of a wash bath.

  • Common sequestering agents include orthophosphate, orthosilicate, and phosphates.

  • Sequestering agents are produced as powder or in liquid form.

  • Phosphates are a wastewater problem since they contribute to eutrophication, the enrichment of water with nutrients that increase plant growth in water ways and sewer systems.

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Last Update: 18 March 1995