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Other Applications

Dilute solutions of acetic acids are also used for their mild acidity. Examples in the household environment include the use in a stop bath during the development of photographic films, and in descaling agents to remove limescale from taps and kettles.

Dilute solutions of glacial acetic acid can be used in the clinical laboratory to lyse red blood cells in order to do manual white blood cell counts. Another clinical use is for lysing red blood cells which can obscure other important constituents in urine during a microscopic examination.

The acidity is also used for treating the sting of the box jellyfish by disabling the stinging cells of the jellyfish, preventing serious injury or death if applied immediately, and for treating outer ear infections in people in preparations such as Vosol. Equivalently, acetic acid is used as a spray-on preservative for livestock silage, to discourage bacterial and fungal growth. Glacial acetic acid is also used as a wart and verruca remover.

Organic or inorganic salts are produced from acetic acid, including:

  • Sodium acetate, used in the textile industry and as a food preservative (E262).
  • Copper(II) acetate, used as a pigment and a fungicide.
  • Aluminium acetate and iron(II) acetate—used as mordants for dyes.
  • Palladium(II) acetate, used as a catalyst for organic coupling reactions such as the Heck reaction.
  • Silver acetate, used as a pesticide.

Substituted acetic acids produced include:

  • Monochloroacetic acid (MCA), dichloroacetic acid (considered a by-product), and trichloroacetic acid. MCA is used in the manufacture of indigo dye.
  • Bromoacetic acid, which is esterified to produce the reagent ethyl bromoacetate.
  • Trifluoroacetic acid, which is a common reagent in organic synthesis.

Amounts of acetic acid used in these other applications together (apart from TPA) account for another 5–10% of acetic acid use worldwide. These applications are, however, not expected to grow as much as TPA production. Diluted acetic acid is also used in physical therapy to break up nodules of scar tissue via iontophoresis.

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