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Sodium chlorate is a synthesized chemical compound that is used in herbicides and to make chlorine dioxide to bleach pulp and paper. It is created through an industrial process that produces sodium chlorate in the form of a white powder that is soluble in water. The chemical is highly toxic if injected and can explode if mixed with sugar.
When used as a herbicide, sodium chlorate is combined with a fire depressant, such as sodium metaborate, and manufactured as dust, spray or granules. The chemical is toxic to all green plants. It is used to completely eradicate all vegetation, so it is not used as a herbicide for cropland. Common applications of this type of weedkiller is to maintain roadways and fences.
Bleaching pulp and paper is another important use of sodium chlorate. The bleaching agent sodium chlorite is created from chlorine dioxide, which in turn is created from a reduction of sodium chlorate. Also, applying very high temperatures to sodium chlorate will release the oxygen in the compound and leave sodium chloride, commonly known as table salt.
Many countries around the world use sodium chlorate in different brands of herbicides. Environmental movements in some countries have discouraged the use of many types of herbicides, including sodium chlorate. Read more about sodium chlorate from the links on this Business.com page.