Diatomite (non-calcined Diatomaceous Earth) is a popular alternative to chemical insecticides. It is milled to a fine powder, producing irregularly shaped particles of silica which can penetrate the epicuticles of insects, causing death by dehydration. Unlike conventional insecticides, its action is entirely mechanical, and it does not leave harmful chemical residues which may affect other animals.
Uses: non-chemical insecticide, absorbent, filter, abrasive, carrier.
Diatomaceous Earth is an absorbent mineral formed from the remains of diatoms, and is composed mainly of amorphous (non-crystalline) silica. Alternative names include diatomite and kieselguhr.
Diatoms are microscopic unicellular algae of the phylum Bacillariophyta, and can occur in marine or fresh water. Structurally in two halves – hence their name - their cell walls are impregnated with silica which builds up into large beds. Diatomaceous earth is therefore found close to the sites of current or former water bodies.
The properties which make diatomite valuable include low density, high porosity, high surface area, abrasiveness, insulating properties, inertness, absorptive capacity, brightness, and high silica content. Diatomite has a wide variety of uses, and is a component in hundreds of products, or vital to the manufacturing process of thousands more.
Absorbents: Due to such characteristics as porosity and high surface area, diatomite is highly absorbent and is very useful in the clean-up of spills in the automotive, industrial, janitorial and waste remediation industries.
Soil Amendments: When diatomite is incorporated into soil, it serves to reduce compaction, and increase water and air permeation. It also increases plant available water, firms soggy soils, loosens hard to work soils, provides better drainage, aids in nutrient transfer, and improves root growth. In such applications as golf courses, and other landscaped areas it helps absorb and hold water, reducing the amount of water used.
Natural Insecticide: When insects come in contact with diatomaceous earth, it absorbs their protective wax coating and their shells are damaged by the glassy diatoms. This combination causes them to die by dehydration. There is no survival and no built-up immunity as there is with chemical insecticides. Also, it does not break down as chemicals do.
Other examples of the universe of products and uses which benefit from diatomite include dental fillings, seed coatings, roofing compounds, adhesives, sealants, matches, oil drilling compounds, specialty concretes, and paper.
HEALTH & SAFETY INFORMATION
HAZARD IDENTIFICATION: Classification (EC 1272/2008)
Physical and Chemical Hazards: Not classified.
Human health: Not classified.
Environment: Not classified.
Classification (67/548/EEC): Not classified.
This product does not meet the criteria for classification as hazardous as defined in the
Regulation EC 1272/2008 and in Directive 67/548/EEC. Depending on the type of handling
and use, airborne respirable crystalline silica may be generated. Prolonged and/or massive
inhalation of respirable crystalline silica dust (particles up to 10 microns in size) may cause
lung fibrosis, commonly referred to as silicosis. Principal symptoms of silicosis are cough
and breathlessness. Occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica dust should be
monitored and controlled.
The product is not expected to be hazardous to the environment.
Physical and Chemical Hazards
This product is an inorganic substance and does not meet the criteria for PBT or vPvB in
accordance with Annex XIII of REACH. This product should be handled with care to avoid