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Learn All About Phosphates


Natural salts, essential for plant and animal growth.

What are Phosphates?

The term “phosphates” refers to a class of common, naturally occurring salts found in sedimentary rock formations. These are mined and refined to produce phosphorous, a vital natural element for plant and animal growth. Phosphates can be combined with other elements to create a wide variety of products in agriculture, building and construction projects, cleaning, metalworking, pharmaceutical and personal care products, and water treatment. 

  • The name phosphate is derived from the Greek “phosporas” meaning bringer of light.

Where to Find Phosphates

Uses for Phosphates

Agriculture Phosphates are used in fertilizer and provide important nutrients for plant growth. Phosphates also are used in animal feed and provide important nutrients for animal development.
Building & Construction Phosphates is a component of asphalt, which is one of the most widely-used materials for road construction. Phosphate asphalt modifies the grade of the road surfaces to meet performance standards. Phosphates are used in forming cement and delay the hardening of cement when it is poured at great depths. Gypsum wallboards also contain phosphates, which help firm the composition of wallboard. Phosphates are also a key component of paints, pigments, and dyes, where they act as dispersing agents to ensure that the elements of paints that create the color are evenly distributed throughout the product. 
Cleaning Phosphates can soften water, remove oil and greases, dissolves fats, and keep staining or soiling elements from adhering to surfaces. These features make phosphates ideally suited for automatic dishwasher detergents, car washing, cleaning products for vinyl siding, heavy duty industrial cleaning substances, solutions that remove calcium from dairy milking equipment, and paint and wall cleaners.
Metalworking Phosphates have a variety of metalworking applications, including deburring, removal of grease and oils, blasting metal surfaces and chemical cleaning. They also can be used to create metal finishes that are applied to metal surfaces to prevent rust and corrosion, as well as to ensure that paints better adhere to the metal. 
Pharmaceutical & Personal Care Phosphates are used in bath salts as a water softening agent as well as in effervescent tablets. They also serve as an electrolyte in intravenous fluid in hospitals, as a tartar control element in mouthwashes and toothpastes, and as a key ingredient in tablet and vitamin supplements to provide calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.
Water Treatment Phosphates prevent the build-up of substances inside boilers, allowing them to operate more efficiently. Phosphates also are crucial to water softeners and serve as coatings inside water pipes to prevent leaching of lead and iron.

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