Urea Factfile

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- Urea, or carbamide, is an organic compound with the chemical formula CO(NH2)2

- The white crystalline solid is extremely soluble and odourless, but when mixed with water creates ammonia which gives off a strong smell. When dissolved it is neither acidic nor alkali

- Urea is a waste product of the human body breaking down proteins in the liver, cleared from the blood by the kidneys, and then passed out as urine. The average person excretes about 30 grams of urea a day. A small amount of urea is excreted, alongside salt and water, in sweat

- Urea can be irritating to skin, eyes and the respiratory tract. Repeated or prolonged contact with urea in fertilizer form on the skin may cause dermatitis

- Urea is used as a raw material to produce plastics, glues, toilet bowl cleaners, dish washing machine detergents, hair-colouring products, pesticides, fungicides, and nitrogen-rich fertilizers and animal feed additives,

- Urea can cause algal blooms to produce toxins, and its presence in the run-off from fertilised land may play a role in the increase of toxic blooms