Material meets the food-grade quality of activated carbons as defined in the current edition of the Food Chemicals Codex. It is 100% carbon. This type is usually used in the pharmaceutical industry because it absorbs toxins. It has no nutritional benefit. Also used in hydroponic systems, fish tanks, swimming pools, air conditioners and filtration systems to filter organic impurities out of water, air and fluids. Charcoal is carbon. Activated charcoal is charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to open up millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms. According to Encylopedia Britannica: ‘The use of special manufacturing techniques results in highly porous charcoals that have surface areas of 300-2,000 square metres per gram. These so-called active, or activated, charcoals are widely used to absorb odorous or coloured substances from gases or liquids.’ The word absorb is important here. When a material absorbs something, it attaches to it by chemical attraction. The huge surface area of activated charcoal gives it countless bonding sites. When certain chemicals pass next to the carbon surface, they attach to the surface and are trapped. Activated charcoal is good at trapping other carbon-based impurities (‘organic’ chemicals), as well as things like chlorine. Many other chemicals are not attracted to carbon at all — sodium, nitrates, etc. — so they pass right through. This means that an activated charcoal filter will remove certain impurities while ignoring others. It also means that, once all of the bonding sites are filled, an activated charcoal filter stops working. At that point you must replace the charcoal.
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