Systematic name: diatomite/kieselgur
Also listed as: diatomite; diatomaceous silica; celite; diatomaceous earth (uncalcined) (ACGIH); silica amorphous; silica, amorphous, diatomaceous earth containing > 1% crystalline silica (osha); siliceous earth; infusorial earth; kieselguhr; tripolite.
Definition: Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring light-colored, porous sedimentary rock composed of fossilized silicate cell walls of diatoms (a group of algae).
Diatomaceous earth contains approximately 86-90 % silica, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium and 2% iron oxide. According to its source it can be classified into: fresh water diatomaceous earth and saltwater diatomaceous earth (high in crystallline silica).
The oldest use of diatomite is as mild-abrasive in toothpaste, metal polishes and facial scrubs. It is also used as a filter aid in industrial applications; as thermal/sound insulator; filler in paint paper, ceramics, plastic, detergent, etc.
Diatomaceous earth is a broad spectrum insecticide, neutral anthelmintic (dewormer), soil additive, anticaking/bulking/opacifying agent and absorbent.
In the cosmetic industry, diatomaceous earth is found in: loose powder, foundation, eyeliner, eyeshadow, soaps and detergents, bath products, cleansing products, toothpaste.
- Bioaccumulative: builds up in wildlife, food chain and people lingering in body tissues for years/decades after exposure.
- Linked to respiratory toxicity.
- Data gaps: more studies have yet to be conducted to assess its safety.
Our Rating: Good.
Warning: When used in high concentrations or on its own, Diatomaceous Earth can cause severe dryness.
Avoid breathing in diatomaceous earth as its silica content could irritate the lungs.
Ishtar Magally Mobarak