Diatomatious Earth, just what is the difference

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I'm surre that this has been answered before but I probably missed it.

Just what is the difference between Food Grade and Swimming Pool diatomatious earth? I figure that if it really gets bad that food grade may not be all that available in the yrs to come. And those pool owners will have other worrys. Soooo pool grade will be readily available. What's the real difference and what's the risk?

Would the swimming pool grade be ok in the garden and on the pets (aka canine security system)?

Would swimming pool grade be better than nothing when trying to store next summers or even the following summers grain? (I doubt that there'll be much dry ice without electricity. And my stock pile won't last forever!)

I guess said in another way, is it just a small risk of contamination that I'm taking against a possibly big risk of starvation?

-- LM (latemarch@usa.net), October 23, 1999


I hope you get answers better than mine, but here goes, just in case:

Food Grade is a naturally occuring substance and will not damage your insides when you eat it in small percentages mixed in your food. This is also fed daily by some organic dairy farmers to deworm their animals. The swimming pool DE has been altered/heated and, I believe, becomes like glass and would do great damage if ingested. Good luck! Am certainly no expert but tried to learn this before. Looking forward to reading other's info.

-- Kristi (securxsys@cs.com), October 23, 1999.

I just purchased 2 batches, one of food grade and one for gardening. The fellow who sold me the food grade said it is FDA approved, so I imagine there may be something about this on the FDA website. He also told me of a local feed store which had some damaged sacks. He told me that both varieties are called DE-10 and that he could discern no difference betwixt the two, except the FDA-approved batch was 4X more costly.

Upon inspecting both batches, I found the FDA batch was somewhat lighter in color, so apparently there is some sort of discernable difference.

Now, don't quote me on this, but I would guess that using the lower- quality DE might be okay if you rinse your stored goods prior to cooking.

But, while we're on the subject, so to speak, does anyone have an alternative method than DE they would like to share?

-- Zach Anderson (z@figure.8m.com), October 23, 1999.

http://www.bigbirds.com/ridgewood/earth.htm and http://www.lis.ab.ca/walton/grain/faqs/ive.html are two URLs for you to read on the subject. Please note that the filter grade and the food grade are quite different.

-- Ken Seger (kenseger@earthlink.net), October 23, 1999.

Thanks all,

The Walton feed article above really says it all. It's the silca content that makes the difference. Silica is hard on humans and animals, that is something I know about.

I'll go get the right kind and put it into the "hoard" downstairs.

-- LM (latemarch@usa.net), October 24, 1999.

We have used diatomatious earth of the "pool kind" in our garden once to slow down the "slugs" that used to infest our carrots.

There apparently is something about diatomatious earth in that it is granular, sharp, and the slugs being the oozing creature that they are, get all cut up in digging through soil containing the diatomatious earth.

Since using the DE, we've had no more problems with "bifurcated carrots" or other problems resulting from the slugs. The benefits seem to last as the single heavy application (an 80 lb bag over a 30 x 15 garden tilled in) seems to still be holding the little critters at bay.

-- Joe (KEITH@noosnet.com), October 26, 1999.

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