Just got Diatomaceous Earth but there's 85% SO2 in it

it_better_be_organicJune 15, 2006

This site talks about how if you have more than 3% free crystalline SO2, it is dangerous to humans.


On my bag it says there is 85% Silicon Dioxide content but doesn't specify how much free crystalline SO2 there is.

I'm worried that this stuff will not be safe and will be especially unsafe to breathe in. I got it from http://www.extremelygreen.com/index.cfm and it says it's safe for pets and humans but says not to breathe it in or get it in your eyes..Comments?

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SO2 is primarily an inhalation hazard, so use great care when applying it or wear a dust mask.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 7:16AM
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The word "SO2" would ordinarily be read as sulfur dioxide, not silicon dioxide. The standard symbol for the element silicon is Si. Silicon dioxide, aka "fumed silica," is a known health hazard. The very fine particles can become embedded in lung tissue, and the body is not able to expel them. I believe that particle size is the important factor, with regard to health issues. Fine particles are hazardous, but coarser particles are relatively safe.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 9:33AM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

That's SiO2, not SO2. Extremely different compounds.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 9:34AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

DE should NOT be inhaled! You can eat the darned stuff (and believe me, we ALL eat it) but can't inhale it!

Food grade or horticultural grade DE is largely Amorphous silica, which has less of in inhalation danger than the pool filter grade, which is almost all crystalline silica.

Your horticultural DE can be used with perfect safety, as long as you wear a dust mask. Are you worried about the warning on the label? Most of that stuff under your kitchen sink has warning labeling, yet we use them with abandon! Have you read the warnings on a bottle of bleach or any household cleaner? EEEEK! Give me DE any day!

BTW, contrary to common belief, DE does not lose its effectiveness if it gets wet. It can even be mixed with water and applied as a spray (it doesn't dissolve so frequent agitation will be required).

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 10:05AM
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squeeze(z8 BC)

yes, as indicated above, you need to slow down and read better - DE is silicon not a sulpher gas, there is NO SO2 in it - use with care according to directions


    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 11:01AM
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Thanks for the attitude Bill. I made a typo.

I'm not "worried about the warning" I'm worried that this kind of application was hazardous to the lungs possibly and I still don't know how much crystalline silicon dioxide there is

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 11:32AM
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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Any time you inhale particles in the 1-10 micron range, they can cause irritation. Silicosis, however, is a disease caused specifically by inhalation of SiO2. I know guys that flint knap that have to be worried about it.

I dunno about diatomaceous earth causing it, but maybe.

Google it, you'll likely get more info.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 1:29PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

It is unlikely that IF YOUR PRODUCT IS LABELED FOR ANIMAL, FOOD, and GARDEN USE, that it will have worrisome amounts of free crystalline silica in it. It might not have ANY. Most of the food grade DE has less than 1% free crystalline silica.

Even so, it still must not be inhaled. That's a very easy precaution to take. What are you trying to control?

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 1:32PM
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trying to control slugs mainly at this point and refuse to deal with beer. if the d.e. won't work ill put rings of sharp window screening around each plant so they can't crawl over the barbs of metal but thats a pain too so im tyring de

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 4:11PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Is there any reason why you don't want to use the very successful (and organic) slug baits such as 'Slug-go' or 'Escar-go'? They are about 1% iron phosphate and work very well, far better than DE will for slugs.

If you end up going with the window screening, I would suggest that you try to find some copper screen. Works pretty darned good on them slugs! (Slugs/snails won't cross a copper barrier. It shorts them out.)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 4:53PM
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I had some food grade DE and didn't know it should not be inhaled and I dumped a bunch on my head 2 days in a row cause I was trying to rid myself of bird mites. Now I'm coughing a lot, my lungs feel very irritated and I noticed I have small cut in my throat. Have I just given myself a death sentance???
The package I have does NOT have any warning on it not to inhale it!

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 2:49AM
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