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Diatomaceous Earth for Humans: What You Don’t Know

eating diatomaceous earth

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33 responses

  1. andi

    I guess from your last post your saying both the DE and the montmorillonite are coming from the same mines? where might that be ? If the clay occurs naturally how do they produce the “white” varieties of DE ?

    January 31, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    • Hi Andi,

      Thanks for visiting our blog!

      Yes, Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth is a naturally occurring blend of diatomaceous earth and calcium montmorillonite that comes from a mine site in British Columbia, Canada.

      Each deposit of diatomaceous earth is slightly different in what it naturally contains. White DE, for example, does not contain calcium montmorillonite (this is what makes Red Lake Earth grey-ish brown in color). The color and properties of a diatomaceous earth product can also be affected by the way in which it is treated. For example, ‘pool grade’ DE is heated to a very high temperature and contains high levels of crystalline silica.

      Here are some other articles that I thought you might find interesting:

      What Is the Difference Between Brown and White Diatomaceous Earth?

      Food Grade vs. Pool Grade Diatomaceous Earth: The DL on DE

      I hope this answers your questions. If you have any other questions please let us know!

      January 31, 2013 at 9:54 pm

  2. corey evans

    just wondering if there is a difference between the white DE and the darkish grey one. i bought some at a tractor place and thought it was white but it isn’t. we got it to treat for bed bugs. is it still safe to use??? and will it work?? i asked the man twice if it was food grade and he told me yes but like i said, i didnt know it wasn’t the white until today. thanks :)

    December 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    • Hi Corey,

      Thanks for visiting our blog! The difference between white diatomaceous earth and Red Lake Earth (greyish-brown DE) is that Red Lake Earth (RLE) contains calcium montmorillonite, a clay that occurs naturally in our deposit of DE. RLE is food grade and is registered for use in animal feed as an anti-caking agent or pelleting aid (not to exceed 2% of total diet). As well, in Canada, our diatomaceous earth has also been registered as a natural insecticide for use against many crawling insects including bed bugs.

      When using RLE for this purpose most people will sprinkle the powder along the baseboards, in cracks and crevices around the room as well as along the bed frame and in the seams of the mattress. The bed bugs must come in direct contact with the powder in order for it to be effective therefore it is important to sprinkle RLE in any area where the insects may be hiding.

      Here is a link to another post from our blog that you might also find helpful APL’s Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Now Approved in Canada As Natural Insecticide

      I hope this answers all of your questions! If there is anything else we can help you with please let us know!

      December 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      • corey evans

        thank you so much! you’ve helped me more than anyone so far. i’ve been to many websites and blogs and no one has told me anything or given me any advice that was useful. i felt like i was at a dead end and the bites were horrible. i was the only one getting bit and it is so bad that i had to seek medical attention. they’ve treated four times but we r still finding live bugs. they refuse to bring in a professional so i’m wondering if we will ever get rid of them. we r suppose to move after the first of the yr and i’m afraid we may take them with us. i will say this much, this has changed me! i am constantly looking at my clothes to make sure they aren’t on me and when i go some where, i am constantly thinking about it. thanks again. if u have any more advice on what i can do, i would love to hear it.

        December 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm

        • You’re welcome! I’m glad I could be of help!

          Below is a link to the collection of articles on our blog that discuss the use of Red Lake Earth for bed bugs (I thought you might find some of these interesting and helpful). Many of these articles are based on customer testimonial and suggested application methods. I hope they will be of help!

          Good luck and I hope everything goes well!

          December 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm

  3. heather

    Can I use the red lake DE to get rid of fleas or do I need the white DE for that?
    Thanks, Heather

    September 23, 2012 at 8:08 am

    • Hi Heather,

      Thanks for your question! At the moment, Red Lake Earth is not registered in the US for use against bed bugs however we are currently working on having it registered for this purpose (it is registered in Canada as a natural insecticide). We have heard many positive results from customers who have used the product for this purpose. In any tests that we have seen there has been no difference in effectiveness between Red Lake Earth and white DE.

      I hope this helps! If you have any other questions please let us know!

      September 24, 2012 at 9:15 am

  4. olga

    I stumbled on your product in tractor supply by accident the saleswoman told me it was a best kept secret and to research it. I know l have problems with candidia not the first time but it’s real bad now. Mere are too expensive so l’amour starting to use it today along with the animals for flees worms and earmites which have been so bad L’s m wanting to get rid of all animals. I did the research and am confident it’s all uphill from here. I will post back in a couple of weeks with updates. I thank the Lord Jesus for guiding my path to your product. And thank you. Ps you should advertise for animal use l’ve spent a fortune on bombs sprays drops and collars what a waste of money.

    August 28, 2012 at 5:25 am

  5. Arleen Otero

    I’ve been reading these comments which are great! i to have been using DE for 2 years now the white kind, this is my first bag of the gray brown. will use it like i do the white, in feed and around outside of house to keep down the fleas and chiggers i also found when you add 1tbs to your horse water it keeps larva from hatching and algae from growing easier to clean granted your water needs to be changed every 4 days in summer just found this out by testing this fact i read ranchers add this to there water for cows so why not horse water works well. also i use it around my dogs area and under trees wear my sheep lay down i guess you can say im becoming more confident with Diatomaceous earth and its ok to be a little nervous at first when you see all it does you’ll keep using it i hope this helps with some of the uses.

    August 17, 2012 at 10:16 am

  6. DeeDee

    Hi. Just bought a 20lb bag of DE at my local Tractor supply for flea control on pets and in my basement. Now, I am taking it – after MUCH MUCH research on this, I have decided to try it for myself. I have HBP, and “issues” with my stomach. So far, so good…..oh, and fleas are just about gone. Saw 2 last night – down from about 20 or so on my ankle. Took great pleasure is crushing those 2 between my fingers. ;)

    July 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    • It’s great to hear that Red Lake Earth is working so well against the fleas!

      Thanks for the feedback!

      July 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm

  7. Could Absorbent Solutions tell me if your Bentonite clay in Red Earth is the edible consumable grade clay used in other Bentonite clay edible products…My position is if the product is good enough for our pets/livestock to consume what makes us any different?…The FDA/ big Pharma/Agri Corp make policy/decisions based on Govt politics / profit and are not reputable….Everyone knows this but I always understand the necessity for disclaimer language….John

    June 24, 2012 at 9:27 am

    • Hi John,

      Red Lake Earth, a natural blend diatomaceous earth and calcium bentonite (also known as montmorillonite), is considered to be both food and feed grade (see Diatomaceous Earth: Food Grade vs. Feed Grade for more information) and is registered for use in livestock feed as an anti-caking agent and flow aid (not to exceed 2% of an animal’s daily diet). Red Lake Earth is also OMRI listed for use in organic production.

      June 25, 2012 at 8:30 am

  8. I started taking red lake diatomaceous earth 10 days ago. I had heard about it for years and use it for livestock but only recently decided to try it for myself. I had been having a lot of pain in my stomach and everything I ate gas me gas. My stomach was so bloated and hurt to touch it. I began with one tablespoon of DE in a cup on water and literally the next day the pain in my stomach was less. After 5 days the pain was completely gone and I can eat food that I haven’t gotten to eat in years. I have also noticed that my hair is softer adn I have lost inches off my waste. I don’t care if it is in my head or this stuff is the solution I have looked for. I will continue to take this and I pray it continues to help me.

    May 2, 2012 at 5:49 pm

  9. I have been taking DE for about 2 months now and find it beneficial in the way of more energy, colon cleanser, fading the sun spots on my hands, and stronger nails. I have been telling my co-workers and now 4 are using it. They agree that they have more energy and see the sun spots fading.
    We are not positive whether it is based on our belief that it works but we continue to take it just the same.
    I take a tablespoon each morning in a glass of fresh sqeezed grapefruit juice. Before that I put it in my oatmeal. (One friend only takes a tsp each day.)
    I have put it on my dog when i saw a tick, and it killed it. I also put it around my sink now that I am seeing ants.
    The kind I use is 100% food grade DE shell flour via perma guard.

    April 9, 2012 at 9:41 am

    • Thanks so much for the info Leanna. Its great to hear you have had so much success with diatomaceous earth!

      For those of you wondering if there is a difference between Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth and other DE products the answer is – yes. Most diatomaceous earth products are pure diatomaceous earth and white in color. Red Lake Earth, on the other hand, is a unique and rare blend of diatomaceous earth and naturally occurring calcium bentonite (or montmorillonite) and is darker in color. For most purposes pure DE and a blend such as Red Lake Earth with function the same however, when used for its registered purpose (in livestock feed), Red Lake Earth is much like feeding your animals brown bread instead of white bread, due to the extra micro and macro minerals that are contained in the calcium bentonite. For more information please see Diatomaceous Earth: the Importance of Macro and Micro Minerals

      April 10, 2012 at 9:49 am

  10. celia

    Wanted to make sure that your Red Lake brand was the DE that you take internally. Also, how do you spread it around living spaces without inhaling into lungs.

    Thanks for any advice,


    March 23, 2012 at 11:06 am

    • Hi Celia,

      Our DE is not approved or registered with the FDA or CFIA for human consumption and therefore we do not recommend it for this purpose. We are aware that some individuals do consume our DE however this is at their own discretion.

      Red Lake Earth is food and feed grade, meaning that it contains less than 1% crystalline silica, less than 10mg/kg of arsenic and less than 10mg/kg of lead, however, the product is only registered for use as an anti-caking agent and flow aid in livestock feed.

      When sprinkling DE around your home, spread it in cracks and crevices, along baseboards and in other areas where it will not be kicked up in to the air too often. Most people simply use their hands to spread the powder. While I cannot speak for all DE products (as they may contain varying amounts of crystalline silica), Red Lake Earth will not cause any negative health effects if a small amount is inhaled (only large amounts inhaled over a long period of time, for example, working everyday in a mine for 30 years, could pose a possible risk). If pre-existing allergies to dust or other health conditions are a concern, you may want to seek advice from your doctor before handling DE.

      I hope this helps!

      March 23, 2012 at 11:29 am

  11. Lee

    can de hurt you if inhaled?

    February 2, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    • Hi Lee,

      I cannot speculate as to whether or not all DEs are safe, as some do contain varying amounts of crystalline silica. Crystalline silica can be harmful if too much is inhaled over a long period of time (such as working in a coal mine for 30 years).

      Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth, however, contains less than 1% crystalline silica and therefore if a small amount of RLE dust is inhaled it will not create any health effects. As it is not good to inhale large amounts of any dust, individuals should take precautions from breathing large amounts in.

      February 3, 2012 at 9:28 am

  12. Margaret McJannet

    I agree with Eric
    No profit equals no testing

    Pharmaceutical companies would actually suffer imensly if the public was aware
    of this natural non toxic substance

    The sale of DE should be regulated for uninformed buyers to insure that pure FOOD GRADE DE is distinguished from the DE sold for gardening etc which contains harmful chemicals

    I myself have been painstakenly researching DE
    I will buy it based on this research

    But ,,,the danger is someone is going to go to a garden center or feed store and buy something that could potentially harm them….because of the lack of purity and added substances

    So far it looks pretty good to me and I am close to actually ordering

    January 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    • Yes, it is very important that individuals who will be using DE for insect control and animal consumption purchase Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth (also referred to as Food Chemical Codex Grade) and not pool grade. Pool grade can be very dangerous if inhaled or ingested.

      While the DE does not need to be pure (and white in color) to be effective for these purposes (for example, Red Lake Earth is a natural blend of diatomaceous earth and calcium rich montmorillonite and in fact, provides more benefit to animals than pure DE, as it contains various micro and macro minerals), individuals do need to be sure that there are not chemicals added to the substance they are buying.

      January 24, 2012 at 8:44 am

    • Patty Plummer

      Margaret, I have been using DE myself for years and have quite few people also using it. I can assure you we have not died or had any harmful effects from it! I have diabetics that had sugar readings in the 600s maintaining under 200. We have seen drops in cholesterol up to 38 points in as little as 3 weeks, with much higher drops from people that have been using it longer. I am patiently waiting for some of the newest users to report their cholesterol numbers at their regular scheduled check ups. Blood pressures have dropped, marked increase in overall energy and health has bee reported to me. I do not sell or in anyway shape or form benefit from telling you this, it is personal experience and I am sure the reason more research is not being done is because the big pharmaceutical companies stand to lose a tremendous amount of money!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      • DEB

        Hi; Do you use the Red Lake Earth and if you do how much do you use? I have been researching this DE for some time and want to try it on my dog my horses & myself. You read its safe and then you read its not, its hard to figure out who is telling the truth. I have read to start slow and work up to a teaspoon a day in water or some other beverage. Thank you and I look forward to your comments. Thanks Deb

        March 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      • Kelly

        I have purchased the Red DE for as a feed supplement and it is dark in color for bed bugs. I am very seriously considering using it myself. Is this the kind you use?

        April 5, 2012 at 6:10 am

        • Hi Kelly,

          Red Lake Earth is a food grade diatomaceous earth product however it is not registered for human consumption (at the moment there aren’t any food grade DE products that are registered with the FDA or CFIA for humans) and therefore we do not recommend it for this purpose. We are aware that individuals do consume this product however, this is at their own discretion.

          April 5, 2012 at 7:57 am

          • LizReck

            Probably 99% of people who have educated themselves on how the FDA works, wouldn’t be concerned as to wether or not they have “approved” diatomaceous earth.

            June 23, 2012 at 5:09 pm

  13. Eric

    It’s almost guaranteed such testing will never be done. It would cost in the millions to do so and there is no way the product can be patented. It’s enough to know that humans have been ingesting it for decades without any reported harm. And, fwiw, it’s not actually “earth” but the hard hulls of a tiny algae from millions of years back. Loaded with silica.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    • Patty Plummer

      Eric is right, it is very unlikely that any significant testing will ever take place. It is said that if the cells of the human body have the correct amount of silica in them, then cancer can’t grow in them. Well, I don’t know if that is correct, but I’ve been having my teaspoon full in my yogurt for years, I have no health issues and whether it is helping me or it’s all in my head, either way I will be spooning up tomorrow. I have livestock that have been eating it all of their lives and I now have cattle as old as 17, horses ranging in ages from a yearling to 27 years old. I’ve feed it to puppies as young as 3 days old, I HAVE been actively using it for over 20 years, so if someone decides to start a research program I’m there!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm

      • kim knapp

        I am wondering what kind of diatomaceous earth you take. is it red lake or perma-guard? do you know if they are both the same?



        March 8, 2012 at 7:17 am

        • Chris Shepard

          no they are not , both are food grade . perma-guard is pure de , red lake has montmorillonite added

          September 26, 2012 at 2:15 am

          • Each deposit of diatomaceous earth is a little bit different in what it contains naturally. Red Lake Diatomaceous Earth contains a naturally occurring clay known as calcium montmorillonite (calcium bentonite). This clay occurs naturally in the deposit of diatomaceous earth and is not added.

            Check out this interesting post for more information on the differences between different DE: “Pure” Diatomaceous Earth: Facts and Fiction

            September 26, 2012 at 8:26 am

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