What are the ingredients found in Diatomaceous earth (DE) and are they safe?



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    Diatomaceous earth primarily consists of the fossilized shells of tiny organisms called diatoms. These unusual protists have a silica exoskeletion that remains long after they are dead, and though they are microscopic, they occur in such great numbers that layers of their shells pile up into a chalky, silica-based soft rock. The rock is crumbled into powder for industrial use. It may also contain some clay or soil, aluminum, and iron oxide.

    Since it is mostly silica, diatomaceous earth presents a few hazards. It dries out the hands quickly if handled, and in some varieties the shards of silica are sharp enough to cut skin. These forms, like flux-calcined diatomaceous earth, should not be inhaled because of the risk of damage to the lungs. The amount of crystalline silica allowed in diatomaceous earth is regulated by the US, but dust masks and gloves should be worn for safety when handling or spraying it.

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