Calcium StearateBy: Sabina and Jailyn


What is it?

"An insoluble calcium salt of stearic acid and palmitic acid; it is formed when soap is mixed with water that contains calcium ions and is the scum produced in regions of hard water" (Princeton University). Calcium Stearate is a type of salt. It can also be know as calcium octadecanoate because they are both a type of salt. Calcium stearate is a white substance. It’s non-toxic and is made from stearic acid, which is made from Animal sources (Wise Geek).

Why is it in our foods/what purpose does is have?

Calcium stearate is not often used in foods as much as it is used in cosmetics, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Such as soaps, shampoos, ointments, packaging, and hair styling products (World Wide Info.). "In 1924 calcium stearate was tested and used for the texture of bread dough and to reduce dust level of the flour," (Wise Geek). Then later on the Food and Drug Administration announced that calcium stearate was safe to use in different foods. These days it’s used in candy like smarties to increase the powdery taste. Its used in vitamins, most fatty products, coconut milk, and bread.

external image 20090415_soap.jpgshampoo.jpgvitamins.jpgexternal image smarties.jpg

But because it just recently became a safe food to eat, there aren't that many food that have calcium stearate in them.

What properties does it have?

Appearance- mostly white yellow powder
Melting point- 155 Celsius
Solubility in water- negligible

What are the pros and cons of adding this to our food? Are there any side effects?

Calcium Stearate isn’t known as an unsafe nor safe chemical. Though there is some small side effects such itchiness, eye irritation, and redness. These side effects mainly only happen when using the cosmetics like soap or certain gels. Some pros are that without this chemical we wouldn’t have soap the way it is today. This chemical is responsible for the soapy bubbles that are created when used in hard water. Some cons though, vegetarians and vegans may try to avoid eating this chemical because it is some often derived from animal products (Wise Geek). That’s why calcium stearate is used more in cosmetics.

Work Cited:

"What Is Calcium Stearate?" WiseGEEK: Clear Answers for Common Questions. Web. 4 Nov. 2010.

"CALCIUM STEARATE." Worldwide Chemical Information, Trading & Advertising.
Web. 4 Nov. 201 STEARATE.htm

"What Does Calcium Stearate Mean? Definition and Meaning (Free English Language
Dictionary)." English-learning and Pronunciation Courses with Audio, Online Dictionary and More. Web. 3 Nov. 2010 /calcium_stearate.htm.