Diatomaceous Earth Grades Explained – Food, Pool & Industrial?


There are many different uses for diatomaceous earth, or DE, ranging from insecticide to dietary supplement. While diatomaceous earth is generally completely safe and non-toxic, it’s important to remain informed about the various different classifications of this unique substance.

Some are completely harmless, such as food grade DE, while others can be dangerous if not handled correctly, such as pool grade diatomaceous earth.

There are many different grades of diatomaceous earth, but most are used only in niche industrial applications that most people will never encounter. The three primary grades of diatomaceous earth are food grade, pest control grade, and pool grade.

It’s extremely important to check the label of the diatomaceous earth you’ve ordered before use. In this article we’ll provide a breakdown of the three primary grades of diatomaceous earth, how they differ, and explain their applications.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Food grade diatomaceous earth is the most commonly used form of DE. Food grade DE is mined from mineral deposits, crushed into a fine white powder, and otherwise left untreated. Other forms of DE undergo various chemical or heating process to change their molecular structure, whereas food grade diatomaceous earth is essentially unaltered.

Food grade diatomaceous earth has been classified as GRAS by the FDA, or generally regarded as safe. This classification does not expressly endorse the use of food grade diatomaceous earth as safe to consume as a dietary supplement, but classifies it as safe for use with food and beverage products.

Part of the reason for this is the lack of scientific inquiry into the health benefits of diatomaceous earth. At least one study, however, has conclusively proven the ability of food grade diatomaceous earth to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Pest Control Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Pest control grade diatomaceous earth is similar to food grade diatomaceous earth in that it hasn’t undergone any treatments after being mined from mineral deposits. While pest control grade diatomaceous earth is essentially the same thing as food grade diatomaceous earth, you should never use it in any application that involves consumption or application on the human body.

Some companies mix diatomaceous earth with toxins, poisons, or pesticides to increase the efficacy of their product, so be sure to always keep pest control grade diatomaceous earth separate from food grade DE.

Note that food grade DE can be used as a replacement for pest control grade DE, so if you can’t decide which one to purchase, it’s best to choose food grade DE.

Pool Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Pool grade diatomaceous earth is very different from the other two grades of DE, and is far more dangerous. Pool grade DE is diatomaceous earth that has been subjected to temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees celsius after mining, which causes the silica content to crystallize.

Crystallized silica is an extremely efficient pool filter but is toxic and hazardous if inhaled, so always store pool grade diatomaceous earth separate from the home in a clearly labeled container.

When purchasing diatomaceous earth, it’s a good rule to carefully research the brand you’re buying from and stick to the same brand thereafter.

Diatomaceous earth is a highly versatile product that can replace many of the chemicals and toxins in your home, but always remember to keep the different grades in mind and only use food grade diatomaceous earth in any application involving consumption or topical use.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9533930

Diatomaceous Earth Information Guide:

We have a wide variety of food grade diatomaceous earth resources for you look through to make your life a little easier and chemical-free. Please check out the other valuable resources and versatile application uses for silica-rich diatomaceous earth below:

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