• Health and Disease Applications :Sodium nitrite may have several applications in the fight against disease and organ damage. Sodium nitrite may be used to improve blood circulation, particularly to parts of the body that are injured or damaged. Low concentrations of sodium nitrite can be used to treat diseases. Sodium nitrite in combination with sodium nitrate can heal cardiovascular conditions by strengthening or repairing damaged blood vessels. It is a vasodilator, intestinal relaxant, bronchodilator, and an antidote to cyanide poisoning, and hydrogen sulfide poisoning.
  • Dye Creation:Sodium nitrite is often used to form dyes for the coloring of linens. The dye-creation process can be dangerous when chemicals such as sodium nitrite are used.
  • Curing Meat:In most cases, meats are cured using sodium nitrite. Although some meats require sodium nitrate a close relative of sodium nitrite for proper curing, these are often meats requiring a longer aging process. Curing meat with this chemical helps preserve the meat and delay the onset of botulism, a deadly disease that can be borne in spoiled foods. Curing also infuses the meat with a distinct flavor and causes the meat to develop a bright pink hue when cooked.
  • Botanical Uses :Sodium nitrite is common in fertilizer, as well as in some herbicides and insecticides. It’s used because it can help kill off living organisms that pose a threat to plant life without harming the flora itself.
  • Food Preservative :Sodium nitrite is commonly used in the food industry as a stabilizer and an additive. It has antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of harmful pathogens and disease-causing bacteria. Sodium nitrite is used to preserve fish and meats, such as hot dogs, smoked fish and luncheon meats. It prevents meat from developing botulism, which is a serious disease caused by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum in food. The Food and Drug Agency limits the use of sodium nitrite to 200 parts per million in food products in the United States.
  • Pigments and Dyes:Sodium nitrite is used as a bleaching and dyeing agent. It is used to make basic dye, acid dye, and direct dye, and sulfur dye, diazo and azoic dyes. Sodium nitrite dye irritates the respiratory system, eyes and skin, and should be handled with care. Its ingestion is toxic, and sodium nitrite can prove to be an explosion hazard if heated with a flammable material.
  • Other Uses:Other uses of sodium nitrite include the manufacture of herbicides, organic insecticides, decaling of cast iron and steel, as an inhibitor of polymer, anti-freeze liquids, lubricants, rubber-processing, pulp-and-paper industries, industrial and household cleaners, and as a raw material in the production of products such as caffeine and saccharine.