As the most readily available cobalt salt, cobalt sulfate is a red monoclinic crystalline substance that liquefies at 100 degrees Celsius and becomes completely anhydrous at 250 degrees Celsius. The primary means of synthesis is the reaction of cobalt metal, cobalt oxide, hydroxide, or carbonate with aqueous sulfuric acid. Industrially, cobalt sulfate is primarily used to prepare pigments for textiles, ceramics, porcelain, glass, ink, and other commercial and industrial production of other varieties of cobalt salts. Other uses for cobalt sulfate include storage batteries, electroplating baths, sympathetic inks, and as a soil additive and food additive in animal feed. For purposes requiring lower grade cobalt sulfate or that do not require highly pure forms of the substance, cobalt sulfate is generally created by adding sulfuric acid directly to cobalt oxide with an aqueous solution. While cobalt is an essential mineral for numerous high life forms and organisms, overexposure to cobalt can be toxic. Special care should be taken when working with cobalt salts to prevent inhalation of the substance, as it has been shown to be mildly carcinogenic.