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Re: potassium

"that the reasons people don't use ashes from their fireplace as potassium
sources are either the variability of amount of potassium in a given amount
of say hardwood ash,
undesirable contaminants coming along at the same time (heavy metals?), or
that most of us don't have/use fireplaces?"

Maybe you will find this info relevant:

 Potassium bromide, KBr, is extensively used in the manufacture of
photographic plates, films, and papers.
 Potassium chlorate, KClO3, is a powerful oxidizing agent. It is used in
explosives, matches, weedkillers, fireworks, and disinfectant.
 Potassium chloride, KCl, is the most abundant of potassium compounds. It
is perhaps best known as a no-sodium table salt substitute. It is also an
ingredient in many chemical fertilizers and is used in the manufacture of
other chemicals.
 Potassium hydroxide, KOH, is often called caustic potash. It is used in
the manufacture of soaps and detergents. It is a good drain cleanser because
it combines with grease (that clog drains) to form water soluble soaps.
 Potassium carbonate, K2CO3, is used in the laboratory as a drying agent
and industrially in the manufacture of soft soap, hard glass.
 Potassium iodide, KI, is used in medicine, particularly in the treatment
of goitre resulting from iodine deficiency.
 Potassium nitrate, KNO3, is used in chemical fertilizers, in gunpowder and
match heads.
 Potassium permanganate, KMnO4, is a purple solid soluble in water. It is
used in volumetric analysis as an oxidizing agent. It is also used as a
bactericide and a disinfectant.
 Potassium sulfate, K2SO4, is used as a fertilizer, particularly for
tobacco plants, and in the chemical industry in the preparation of alums.
 Potassium superoxide, K2O, is used in the respiratory equipment because it
efficiently generates fresh oxygen while removing carbon dioxide.
 Potash A generic and commercial name for naturally occurring potassium
salts. Its name is derived from pot ashes denoting the ancient method of
leaching wood ashes for their potassium carbonate content and concentrating
the extract in iron pots.

Robert Paul H
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