You’ve probably never heard of the “magic sand” that is known for its wide range of uses from pest control to weight loss, but you will be today and boy, will you be glad you did.
Today we’re talking all about diatomaceous earth, the abundant naturally occurring “dirt” that is viewed by many as a miracle for non-chemical pest control, but guess what- some people eat it too.
Many claim that this natural powder derived from the fossilized remains of microscopic algae is not only good enough to kill your bed bug, flea or tick problem around the house, but you can also eat it to cleanse your gut from harmful parasites.
Is Diatomaceous Earth Really Safe Enough to Eat?
First off, there’s 2 main types of diatomaceous earth classified by the amount of crystalline silica it contains. One is food grade, which is edible, and the other is filter, which is toxic to mammals and found in solutions that clean swimming pools.
We’re going to be talking about food grade diatomaceous earth here.
While many sites on the internet like Diatomaceousearth.com say yes, it’s safe and many people eat the food grade version as a health supplement, other sites have said that you should never ingest diatomaceous earth because it can bind to your intestinal track and prevent the absorption of trace minerals.
My opinion is that since there has not been any testing done to see just what constitutes a dangerous amount of how much diatomaceous earth, or even dirt, that you can eat, it might be best to do it minimally, if at all. However, as far as short-term safety is concerned, on several occasions I have eaten a spoonful of the food grade diatomaceous earth myself and still live to tell the tale.
Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for People to Breathe?
One of the best and most common applications for diatomaceous earth is in the use of pest control against crawling insects around the home and garden. However, just because many people know about it, there are even more people who don’t, and there’s a good reason for that- government over-regulation.
But before I get into that, the general procedure for using diatomaceous earth as a bug killer involves dusting crawlspaces and hiding places of the insect pest in question. This usually means an extensive application and a lot of exposed areas which would now contain the dust, so it will become airborne and the possibility of breathing it in, even in tiny amounts, is a likely occurrence.
And this is the reason that the government has made it a regulated market for pest control use, and with it, all the inherent complications and bloat that government intervention entails, which is exactly why you may have never heard of the stuff, though it’s incredibly effective against all types of crawling bugs and parasites.
The Dangers of Breathing Diatomaceous Earth
The dangers of breathing in diatomaceous earth are usually short-lived if done in small amounts, but acute exposure to large amounts or regular exposure over long periods of time can potentially lead to cancer and chronic respiratory issues like silicosis.
I have also breathed in large amounts of food grade diatomaceous earth by accident, and I thought I was going to die because I could not breathe clearly for about 10 minutes and I was gasping for air, but I was being pretty careless.
Due to the risks involved in handling diatomaceous earth, the EPA has created standards for pest control products like bed bug killers that require they show efficacy and are usually less likely to become airborne than their food grade version.
Safety Precautions for Using Diatomaceous Earth to Protect Yourself- and the Bees!
- If you’re going to eat it, make sure it’s food grade and from a trusted source.
- If you’re going to apply it to your home for pest control use indoors, make sure to wear a mask if you have any preexisting breathing conditions, and be mindful not to apply it too close to the air intake on your central air and heating, as well as using ceiling or room fans.
- If you’re going to use it for outdoor use on your garden, avoid sprinkling it on flowers and any other areas where bees are known to land and crawl around, as DE can be harmful to the bee population, which are necessary to plant pollination.
The Final Word on Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth is cheap, we’re never going to run out of it, and it works. To top it off, it’s a great alternative to chemical pesticides and insecticides and when used sparingly, many report the food grade to provide a host of benefits from better looking skin and nails to just feeling cleansed from detoxing their gut.
I recommend you take a look at this little-known natural wonder and see for yourself if it’s the best thing you’ve never heard of.