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Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized shells of unicellular microscopic water-dwelling plants known as Diatoms.
These tiny unicellular plants use soluble silica (sand) from their environment to make their cell walls. When these organisms die, the shells pile up on the bottom to form thick beds of sediment.
These beds, called Diatomite or Diatomaceous Earth, are then mined from ancient dried lake bottoms.
The kind of Diatomaceous Earth you want is referred to as natural Diatomaceous Earth because it has NOT been calcined or altered in any other chemical way. Natural Diatomaceous Earth is classified as amorphous silica. You only want to buy natural, fresh water sourced Diatomaceous Earth that has less than 1% crystalline silica.
Diatomaceous Earth can be milled or processed in many ways. Diatomaceous Earth can be heated to a very high temperature (about 1000°C or 1800°F) and used for filtering but it is also used as a filler and can end up in paints, cosmetics, drugs, chemical insecticides, and other things.
Crystalline silica is really just sand and 80% of the world’s crust is made up of sand. However, crystalline silica comes in many different shapes, sizes and forms. Because of the shape of the crystalline silica in Diatomaceous Earth, it can also damage lungs. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classed any Diatomaceous Earth with more than 1% crystalline silica as a Class 1 carcinogen, mainly for the use in water filtration systems and referred to as Pool Grade.
Just remember this: you only want amorphous silica that has less than 1% crystalline silica and is 100% safe and organic. Amorphous Silica is safe for, amongst others, mammals, plants, as a natural pesticide and a soil enhancement medium etc. Always check to ensure that the Diatomaceous Earth you purchase is Food Grade.
Remember we said that Diatomaceous Earth is the shells of unicellular water creatures called diatoms. That means that some of these lived in salt water and some in fresh water. Diatomaceous Earth from a fresh water source is what you want and what we supply.
Because the diatoms lived all over the world, what they used for food and shell-building varied widely. Though Diatomaceous Earth is mostly made from silica (known by chemists as silicon dioxide), it is extremely rare to find silica all by itself. Usually, the silica will contain other oxides and trace minerals. When the diatom made its shell, these other things went into the shell as well and so they end up in the Diatomaceous Earth. All mammals need certain amounts of trace minerals to be healthy, so, if the Diatomaceous Earth has the right kinds and amounts of trace minerals, it can be very good for all.
The pH is also important. pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. Fresh, pure water has a pH of 7 – it is said to be neutral. A pH less than 7 indicates acidity while a pH greater than 7 indicates alkalinity. It is better if the Diatomaceous Earth is alkaline.
Texture and Size
The Diatomaceous Earth should be as smooth as powder.
The size of the particle and the absorb-ability of the Diatomaceous Earth are also important pieces of the puzzle.