For many, DE is claimed to help with fleas, parasites, lice, mites and many other pests. For others those claims were proved void. Lets look at the facts so we can all decide for ourselves how we proceed
What is DE?
“Diatomaceous earth is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Over a long period of time, diatoms accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans.”
“Diatomaceous earth causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect's exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process. It remains effective as long as it is kept dry and undisturbed.” Source http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/degen.html
BUY PURE FOOD GRADE.
There are different kinds of DE...Food grade, Feed grade and Pool grade...
Whats the difference between Food grade and Feed grade?
Both food and feed grade must contain less that 1% crystalline silica and not be calcined, in order to be safe to use with and around animals. Food grade however has very strict specifications when it comes to heavy metal content. In order to be considered food grade, the diatomaceous earth must not contain more than 10mg/kg of arsenic and no more than 10mg/kg of lead. ( Kind of scary)
Whats the difference between Food Grade and Pool grade?
The difference here lies in the way that each type of DE is treated. Pool Grade DE is calcined, meaning that is treated with very high heat. This turns the silicon dioxide that is present in the DE into crystalline silica. Pool Grade diatomaceous earth, and most other calcined DE products, contain high concentrations of crystalline silica. In fact, some can range from 60 - 70% crystalline silica. Crystalline silica is very dangerous and can be harmful to the health of humans and animals. For this reason, Pool Grade diatomaceous earth should NOT be used for any purpose other than filtration.
While food grade DE has been found to be safe ingested, there is NO scientific findings it helps with internal parasites..here are just a few quotes on this...
“Well, as someone who’s used DE successfully in various topical applications, I’m sad to say that despite all the anecdotal evidence to the contrary, in all of the clinical studies I looked at, DE did not have an significant effect on worm burdens in steer, sheep, or goats.
One of the studies even gave the specs of the diatomaceous earth they used – similar to Joe Camp.
And here’s the kicker: The clinical trials using diatomaceous earth used a higher dosage of DE than Joe Camp and many other laypeople! So there goes my theory about the dosage being too low.” Source, http://www.listentoyourhorse.com/clinical-studies-on-diatomaceous-earth-as-a-natural-de-wormer/
“The results of this study greatly confirm and expand the scientific evidence that DE used alone in grazing lambs is not an effective parasiticide or parasite control agent. Producers aiming at low chemical inputs for parasite control in sheep should continue to rely on management, genetic resistance and alternative natural parasiticidal products, and not count on DE to handle the bulk of their parasite control needs. “ Source http://www.midamericaagresearch.net/documents/Evaluation%20of%20diatomaceous%20earth.pdf
“Goat producers that use it for deworming control often mix it with the mineral supplement or in the feed. Most claims are that it extends the time between dewormings although some claim that it kills worms in goats. There have been 4 or 5 scientific studies and the data consistently show that diatomaceous earth does not kill worms in goats although one study did show that at a very high level (5% of the diet), it had a slight effect.”
“There is speculation that it may help fecal pellets to dry out faster which could reduce the success of eggs developing into infective L3 larvae. Research conducted on this aspect has not been conclusive. It is very difficult to study the claim that diatomaceous earth increases the time between dewormings.” source: https://www.wormx.info/part5
And to add to these findings, DE can Dry out skin, cause respiratory issues (see my personal story below) There is also concern with Urinary Calculi issues as it can add Silica stones- Caused by high silica content in grass and/or DE.
Am I set firm against DE? No, I just want everyone to educate themselves on things they want to try...don’t just jump on the band wagon. Im concern with the claims that DE works for parasite control, that for those producers who fully rely on DE and loose animals to worms because it wasn’t working..There is no answer as to why some sing their praises and others don’t. I am all about natural when ever I can but it concerns me when the claims are not backed up by proof..proof in a controlled setting..I am not suggesting those who make the claim are not telling the truth...what I am suggesting is there is not enough proof to blinding jump on the bandwagon.. Im suggesting if you want to see for yourself...do before and after fecals every time..keep record..check the condition of your herd daily. And take precautions. There is DE in so many things we eat, cosmetics, pesticides, even the loose minerals I use here!! But...
Breathing in DE can be dangerous. Study found it caused cancer in rats..can cause respiratory issues and even death..heres my personal experience...
“I used Food grade DE once, years ago..a white flour looking powder. I used it on my chicken favorite dusting spots, in the coops..and even dusted the animals..I didn’t have any issues but I never saw any benefit either..but when we started have trouble with stick tight fleas, also known as chicken fleas..they were getting on our new born goat kids..so we cleaned the barn out and I bought what the bag said was food grade DE. The gal at the store said she fed it to her dog daily...Ok I bought the bag..got home and opened it...it was grey not white..I read the bag again and it said..food grade..so we sprinkled it lightly on the barn floor and covered it with fresh pine shavings..I really hoped it would control those fleas..a few days later our litter of kittens began to have crusty nose and eyes..and breathing raspy..we treated then for Upper Respiratory Infection, kept their nose and eye clean but one by one they died.then our week old Nigerian babies began the same thing..crusty eyes and nose and raspy breathing..temps were normal but we again treated for URI, but they got worse and worse...then one died..I was stumped. What was killing them! The only thing different was the DE. SO we moved the goats out along with the surviving baby and day by day she got better and better..her eyes lost hair but skin was soft..her breathing was clearing up and her nose was no longer crusty..She made a full recovery just by removing her from the barn. The only thing I can think of is kittens and baby nigies are very close to the ground and breathing in that DE and it was drying them up and tearing their lungs up...I have no doubt DE killed those kittens and that baby nigerian. So yes, Im a little leery of DE and I will alert everyone about it..but in the end we each need to decide..so please take precautions. One thing I do when I want to know the truth, is find all the Pros and Cons...the good bad and ugly...then decide.” Best wishes!!