There is an ongoing circulation of bad, misinformed, incomplete, and overall biased information regarding diatomaceous earth. This article is intended to bring to light much of the research (peer-reviewed articles and government regulation) surrounding DE and the potential dangers of its contents in a way that people can understand.
Many of the websites that list the benefits and uses of diatomaceous earth have a stake in the game. They are usually trying to sell you diatomaceous earth or make a commission by referring you to another store through an affiliate link. They are incentivized to paint the product in the best light. A lot of the bad “not so fun” information is left out or not highlighted as nearly enough as it should be.
As a result, you have a recipe for disaster with people reading, sharing and spreading anecdotal information stemming from these articles about a topic potentially affecting thousands of people causing respiratory issues and/or further pest problems.
What is Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is entirely made of silica, which originated from the fossilized remains of microscopic aquatic plants called diatoms. Over thousands of years, these diatoms have accumulated in the sediment of rivers, lakes and oceans turning into the natural substance silica (remember this because it’s important).
The silica from the rivers, lakes and oceans is mined and processed for various uses around the world.
DE’s main uses include: filters for pools, cosmetics, insulation, anti-caking, filler, absorbents, and of course, pest control.
The pest control variants of DE are slightly different, including specialized formulations, which might include ammonium fluorosilicate, silica aerogel, or other ingredients meant to attract pests into the dust.
For more information and ideas on diatomaceous earth, check out Gardener’s Path and their helpful guide on DE.
Benefits & Uses of DE
People love diatomaceous earth because it has multiple uses and benefits. DE can:
- Help with bed bugs, fleas, roaches, etc.
- Reduce body odor
- Supports your hair, nails and teeth
- Exfoliates your skin
- Remove parasites
There are a host of benefits to DE if used correctly according to the label. The key is to use it according to label. This is an excerpt from a longer article on DE. To find out how to safely use DE for these and other purposes and to learn more about DE, read the full, in-depth article.
Article by Shane Dutka, founder of Pest Strategies.