The manufacture and use of salt is nearly as old as humankind itself. Salt’s use traces back to some of the earliest recorded periods of history and its preservative and restorative benefits have long been recognized. A very versatile compound, salt has multiple applications in the food, chemical and construction industries. Salt has great commercial value because it is a necessary ingredient in many manufacturing processes.1
There are two general forms of salt: unrefined and refined. The former category mainly consists of natural sea salts that have been processed using roasting or evaporation techniques. The most common application of these salts is in bathing additives and cosmetics.
Refined salt is more widely used presently, and is mainly sodium chloride. Food grade salt accounts for only a small part of salt production. The majority is sold for industrial use. A few common examples include the production of pulp and paper, setting dyes in textiles and fabrics, and the making of soaps and detergents.
Salt is used in cold weather climes in the United States and Canada as a de-icer of snowy, slushy or icy road and pavement surfaces. Salt is also used as a “softener” removing elements such as calcium and magnesium from tap water supplies.