Who can use this book? This practical guide for using Diatomaceous Earth is not only for consumers, but also for health practitioners who prefer to guide their clients to focus on natural least-toxic alternatives to chemical pesticides. These how-to tips benefit a broad cross-section of the community: the unborn fetus, children, pregnant and lactating women, home owners, gardeners, pet owners, bird keepers; animal breeders; boarding kennel operators; veterinarians, and farmers. Diatomaceous Earth is used for cows, horses, alpachas, goats, pigs, sheep, poultry, ostriches, crops and orchards granary operators for nut, grain, seed, legume and grain growing, harvesting, milling, storage and transportation facilities, pest control operators for schools, playgrounds parks, city and county public facilities including sewers, medical and food handling facilities, warehouses, retirement and convalescent homes, hotels, and agricultural fairs.
Why do we need a book on this particular alternative to toxic chemicals? Simply because there wasn’t one on the topic of this natural mineral resource available until now for a rather long list of consumer types to find a way to be safer in their own skin and environment. That’s rather unfortunate, because as a result, billions of people have been exposed, or have used dangerous chemicals wherever and whenever there was no need. Although this safer alternative from Mother Nature has existed for hundreds of centuries, toxic chemicals have reigned over the pesticide industry for more than a half-century with their products dominating retail shelves, in homes and literally everywhere, amounting to a multi-billion dollar a year industry for the chemical manufacturers. It’s interesting to note that more than $1 billion per year are spent on just fleas and ticks alone, and still people complain these products do not work as bugs continue to develop resistance to them.
As a concerned mother and registered nurse of thirty five years, Tui set out in 1993 to do her own research to find some safer solutions as she was writing another book on natural remedies for the home and garden at that particular time. When she came upon Diatomaceous Earth, which she had never heard of before, she wondered why this could have escaped her knowledge for so long.
Searching for literature on Diatomaceous Earth, she found only obscure and heavily encumbered university science books existed. Even then, they had a narrow focus, mainly upon the geological and chemical background of the origination and source of Diatomaceous Earth as a sedimentary mineral rock. Further, these intellectual books do not provide for everyday practical utilization and education of the average consumer, or for the health practitioner who needs to expand their knowledge for counseling in the “green” arena. These days, patients are becoming more and more demanding of their practitioners to help them come up with safer and greener alternatives which they can easily obtain, and also know how to use to keep themselves and their families healthy.
As Tui saw the need to fill the literature void, she ambitiously undertook to write a book on Diatomaceous Earth. During her time of research, Tui began using Diatomaceous Earth herself. Friends, neighbors and family would often make the same comment, “It’s great you found a safer alternative to chemicals, but what is it? How do you use it? How does it work?” Tui literally had to do the research for herself. She came across some experts in the field of Diatomaceous Earth, a few of whom had some forty years of experience as pioneers in the field of Diatomaceous Earth mining, manufacturing or farm and animal usage. Documenting their knowledge imparted to her, she combined it with research data from governing agencies, and health, scientific and education journals and organizations. After some 15 years, Tui finally strung it all together as a book with the goal of bridging the information gap with background history, and useful healthful how-to tips to help the reader and consumer know what it’s all about, why they should use it, and what to do with it in their effort to make greener choices in creating their own safer place.
Incidentally, most toxic chemical insecticides have never been tested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before being released onto the market. Further, hundreds more continue to be removed only after years of proving to be harmful or deadly. Meanwhile, hundreds of other new poisonous insecticides are continually being introduced to retail shelves. There’s almost no place left on earth that has not been exposed, and not one of us will develop immunity to all these chemicals.
It’s time for change! But what needs to change? Firstly, awareness of the potentially perilous situation we have gotten ourselves into by using chemical pesticides. This book relays health risks linked to toxic chemical pesticides, while also putting alternative practical tools at your fingertips to make safer changes in your own space at least.
The more people who become aware, the more they can create public demand upon the government, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to provide an abundance of easily available safer pesticide alternatives on the market. But, there is a caveat—before more public demand for this safer solution can become a reality, people must learn about it first in order to be able to make an informed choice, and then make a demand for change, to prevent any further contamination resulting in chemical borne diseases and disabilities.
While Diatomaceous Earth is not a panacea for all problems that bug us, its effectiveness and potential as a major alternative to solve most of our bug problems is much underestimated. Diatomaceous Earth is not simply an alternative—it’s a preventative approach to all the health threats, ailments and suffering caused by toxic chemical pesticides.
Diatomaceous Earth is as old as the dinosaurs—even used by ancient cultures in China, Greece and Egypt to preserve grain, seeds, nuts and legumes from disintegration by moisture, mold and insects. As long as Diatomaceous Earth is kept dry and remains undisturbed in the place of application it can last indefinitely, and be effective in some situations with a single application. But, where has Diatomaceous Earth been since its use in ancient cultures?
Unfortunately, like many ancient things, Diatomaceous Earth’s benefits have been largely forgotten, replaced or substituted by new, so-called “improved” technologies of the chemical pesticide industry in the last sixty years. While the chemical industry has produced many beneficial products, it has also been the source of harmful environmental and health consequences. Now with the results of medical research as seen in some of the news articles in Chapter Seven, Diatomaceous Earth is making a comeback due to popular consumer demand.
The next part of this Introduction briefly summarizes each chapter, highlighting information about Diatomaceous Earth pertaining to the different and specific target areas, benefits, practical tips, recipes, application methods, tools, anecdotal evidence (examples of how others used Diatomaceous Earth and their successes), precautions, and the health risks of toxic chemical insecticides.
Chapter One: What On Earth Is Diatomaceous Earth And How Does It Work? Diatomaceous Earth is composed of the skeletal remains of millions of fossilized microscopic diatoms that once flourished as a form of golden brown aquatic algae or plankton that lived in ocean and lake waters as a food source for all kinds of aquatic creatures. From as far back as the beginning of the Cenozoic Era some 65 million years ago, diatoms have existed and contributed to the buildup of sediment on the ocean floor. Fossilizing over eons of time into soft powdery rock many feet thick, geological forces pushed these deposits up to the Earth’s surface. Today, the deposits that are mined and milled into a whitish powder are primarily from diatoms that lived in lakes which evolved mostly in the Miocene Epoch or younger time periods roughly 25 million years ago.
The fossilized remains of these microscopic diatoms have remarkable and safe bug killing qualities when mined and milled to a fine powder. Diatomaceous Earth kills bugs by sticking to their waxy protective outer layer causing dehydration (chemical-like action) by absorbing their fluids, or possibly causing abrasion with subsequent loss of body fluids, or interfering with their breathing mechanism and mobility by mechanical action. Diatomaceous Earth also has a deterring factor that acts to fence bugs out, without the undesirable chemical effects, and eventual resistance to the toxin which creates super bugs.
As long as a bug comes into physical contact with the powder they will eventually succumb. Some bugs like carpenter ants die almost instantly, while other types of bugs with harder exoskeletons may take a few hours, or a day or two. But, patience is well worth the health and safety benefits. This ancient substance is truly a modern day natural treasure—a safer and simple solution to our everyday insecticidal needs of eliminating bugs.
Chapter Two: Diatomaceous Earth Uses As A Safer Home And Garden Insecticide: Food grade Diatomaceous Earth can be safely used in the home and garden around children and pets as long as dust precautions are taken. Dozens of “how-to” tips are provided for natural ways to treat an A-Z list of bugs through the dehydrating powers of Diatomaceous Earth without chemical nerve poisons. Several anecdotal success stories by other users help to expand individual ideas and ways to use Diatomaceous Earth around the home and garden.
Diatomaceous Earth also has a number of other helpful novelty uses not widely known. Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is safe to use like baking soda to deodorize kitty litter, shoes, refrigerators, vacuum cleaner bags and garbage cans. It can soak up motor oil, (even contain large industrial oil spills), soothe bug bites and bee stings, kill fleas, ticks and lice, resist mold and moisture, retard tarnishing when stored with silver, and act as a gentle metal polisher and a soft scrub when slightly moistened. It is hard to imagine any other natural or synthetic substance that comes close to accomplishing so many solutions to so many challenges, and for so many different kinds of people and uses.
Chapter Three: Diatomaceous Earth For Use In Grain Storage For Humans And Animals: Diatomaceous Earth Grain Storage Protectant is used for preserving grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, rice and more, for both animal and human use from damage by many insects including grain weevils and their larvae. Pure Diatomaceous Earth with no additives, being a natural desiccant, also helps to prevent grains from destruction by moisture and mold. Many recipes are offered for ways to preserve quart jars of whole grains in the pantry, to 25-pound bags, and 100-pound to 1-ton storage containers. There are even recipes for how to protect entire food cellars, grain storage warehouses, farms and mills. A few anecdotal success stories are provided for grain storage.
Chapter Four: Diatomaceous Earth For Agricultural Uses: Diatomaceous Earth for animals comes under the label Anti-Caking Agent, Grain Protectant, or Inert Carrier and has been used for decades in agriculture both externally and internally as a feed additive, and in horticulture. Anti-caking agent is just what it says; it’s a material that is added to another powder, animal feed or grain to facilitate better handling and mixability by keeping it clump-free and consequently free-flowing when poured. It has a beneficial effect on health, not only when applied externally to animals and birds, but also when added to their feed by providing natural trace minerals for growth and strength, among many other benefits.
The many anecdotal success stories from farmers attribute Diatomaceous Earth to making sick and skinny animals well again: eliminating scours and intestinal and external parasites; keeping coats and eyes shiny; reducing veterinarian bills; increasing milk production; and keeping animals generally more contented. The manure of animals fed Diatomaceous Earth has reduced odor, which keeps farmers, animals and birds happy due to the reduction of flies. Diatomaceous Earth can be safely used in poultry houses, even directly on the chickens, and also on other birds, such as ostriches. It can be spread over manure around the barn, stable, poultry house or milking parlor. It can be applied on top of and around feed-bags and bins to prevent damage by grain insects, and it can be applied on crops and orchards right up to the time of harvest. Anecdotal success stories are provided for ideas on how to apply Diatomaceous Earth to birds and animals, on farms, and large commercial scale acreage of crops and orchards.
Chapter Five: Application Tools & Methods To Get The Best Results From Using Diatomaceous Earth: This section provides practical methods, tips and solutions for applying Diatomaceous Earth in almost any situation, no matter how small or large the challenge by using a variety of applicators: hose-end sprayers for applying a liquid solution, pest pistols, accordion puffers, back-packs and tractor sprays—even airplanes. Electrostatic ionizers which can be attached to these applicators uses polarity to make the Diatomaceous Earth stick better to the underside of leaves, tree canopies and to reach dense foliage, or to efficiently and effectively cover and treat very large areas.
Chapter Six: Diatomaceous Earth Benefits For Human Ingestion: Although not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human ingestion in the USA, food grade Diatomaceous Earth has been used for decades in capsules or powder form for human ingestion especially in Europe and Asia as an anti-parasitic, intestinal detoxifier and Trace Mineral Supplement. Dosages are included as suggested by other practitioners or users.
Chapter Seven: Why Diatomaceous Earth Is Better For Health—Alarming Health Risks Linked To Toxic Chemical Pesticides: Over 90-percent of American households use toxic synthetic chemical pesticides and household products. However, rising current public concern about the hazards of toxic chemicals is creating a healthy response. Increasingly larger numbers of consumers are waking up to the realization that blind faith in routine pesticide exposure and treatments is no longer healthy or acceptable. Mistakenly, it was once considered the norm.
Alarmed consumers have become more aware and educated about the consequences of what harmful toxic chemical insecticides can do when absorbed through the skin, or inhaled, or ingested after contaminating carpets, floors, pet bedding, children’s clothing, and areas used for playing, eating or sleeping, as well as our food supply and water. As a result, consumers have developed a healthier attitude, a new surge of interest and a steadily increasing demand for safer and non-toxic alternative solutions to replace harmful insecticides.
This section contains summaries of over thirty medical and scientific articles related to the health risks of toxic chemical pesticides. Toxic chemicals are non-selective, with the ability to kill friend and foe alike. Alarm bells have sounded for decades, warning that everyone including our children and pets are increasingly over-exposed to an accumulation of disease. Chemical body-burden tests reveal that almost all of us have not one, but dozens of different chemicals in our blood stream.
Chemical pesticides can even be found in the most sacred of mother’s milk, the unborn fetus, the newborn, and in most children affecting our genetic heritage. Since toxic pesticides have proven to cause millions of deaths, and a long list of damaging health effects, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been forced to remove many of these chemicals from the market, which they once approved, or they now impose substantial restrictions on other chemicals, most of which still have harmful effects.
DID YOU KNOW? Cancer strikes nearly one in every two men, and one in every three women today? Dr. Samuel Epstein, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, who is also chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, reveals a startling upward spiraling trend in the incidence of major diseases especially cancer. He is particularly concerned about the risky use of toxic chemical cleaners and pesticides applied in our homes and gardens, but he rules out smoking or genetics as the cause of the increase to epidemic proportions over recent decades.
Are we sacrificing our long term health for the instant gratification of a quick toxic chemical fix and a few dead bugs? It’s hard to ignore increases in the following types of cancer over the last few decades that were revealed by Dr. Epstein.
- Childhood cancers increased 40-50 percent.
- Breast cancer increased 60 to 65 percent.
- Testicular cancer between the ages of 28-35 increased 300 percent.
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma increased 100 percent.
- Brain cancer increased 80 to 90 percent.
- Dogs have 5 times greater risk of getting canine lymphoma if they wear collars containing carcinogenic chemicals.
A one-time exposure to a toxic chemical insecticide has been proven to cause many life threatening ailments or diseases such as seizures, birth defects, childhood physical or mental developmental delays and disabilities, leukemia, lymphoma and other cancers. It can also cause a lifetime of any one of dozens of chronic diseases such as: asthma (the leading childhood disease), skin disorders, nervous system diseases such as ADHD, panic attacks and Parkinson’s, endocrine disorders, reproductive problems, and genetic damage to name just a few.
While the author was gathering her research, an advocate and activist for safer alternatives told her his personal tragic story. Steve Tvedten used to be a chemical pest control operator until he and his family were stricken and disabled with an accumulation of toxic poisoning. Steve’s son and uncle died, and he almost lost his own life. The man with a high IQ could not even count simple change and stop himself from shaking due to the damaging effects on his nervous system. When Steve recovered after a long struggle, he changed sides and became an advocate, manufacturer and activist for safer alternatives and a healthier environment. Toxic pesticides also have a detrimental environmental effect on our food chain and water supply. The result of such damage is billions of dollars in annual health care costs and personal suffering. Alternatively, food grade Diatomaceous Earth in the absence of chemical insecticides can provide a resolution to this ever-growing problem of health and safety issues.
Let’s clear up a few misconceptions. Unfortunately, with chemicals, the inherent danger in how it can affect our health in the future is not easily seen coming. Further, the accumulative damage is not always acutely felt or known at the time—often not for years or even decades after exposure. Whereas Diatomaceous Earth is a visible whitish powder, chemicals are usually invisible once applied. The biggest mistake made is to believe chemical insecticides are not damaging or deadly if they cannot be visibly seen, and they must be safe if sold in our grocery stores. Another mistake we make is thinking a little bit won’t hurt, or any contact now won’t be detrimental for a lifetime. Unfortunately, this kind of popular thinking has been proven by statistics to be either disastrous or deadly as the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control has cautioned us about.
Chapter Eight: Safety Precautions For Diatomaceous Earth: Readers and consumers should be cautioned in order to maintain safety—not all Diatomaceous Earth is food grade! It’s very important to note there are two principle forms of Diatomaceous Earth. This book is focused exclusively on food grade Diatomaceous Earth and further clarification appears in this chapter. The ONLY type of Diatomaceous Earth and subject of this book is natural-milled, unheated, amorphous (non-crystalline or non-calcined) silicon dioxide, which may be generally referred to as food grade Diatomaceous Earth.
The second form of Diatomaceous Earth is the one to be wary of, and is definitely not safe for the uses in this book. This is the highly-heated, calcined or flux calcined Diatomaceous Earth. These processes create harmful crystalline silica. Such Diatomaceous Earth products are primarily used commercially as industrial grade silica for a variety of non-food grade applications, such as swimming pool and aquarium filters, and road materials, which are among some 1,500 uses.
It’s vitally important for readers and consumers to not only know there is an important difference between food grade Diatomaceous Earth and industrial grade, the latter of which is toxic and should never be used in the home or in grains, or around birds and animals, or for any of the purposes described in this book, but they must know how to choose the food grade quality in order to use it correctly.
More answers may bring more questions. You may find yourself asking the same baffling question as the Author did at one time: “Well, if it’s so good, then why hasn’t it been used everywhere instead of poisons? If it’s been around so long and it works, how did toxic chemical insecticides get a giant foothold in all our grocery stores, superstores, pharmacies and consequently in our homes?” New light is thrown on why this truly natural treasure has remained relatively in the dark and a mystery to the majority of the population for far too long.
This chapter discusses problems with official red tape and labeling issues, which need to be addressed and fixed in order to help both the sellers of Diatomaceous Earth use more appropriate and accurate verbiage on labels, and also to help consumers avoid any misunderstanding, misconceptions and confusion found on the labels.
Governing agencies have yet to resolve the many anomalies uncovered in this book regarding official laws that involve the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), andstate labeling practices and registration of Diatomaceous Earth which literally has had a chokehold on the market for decades. For example, a pure food grade Diatomaceous Earth product used as an additive for animal feed, must require a hazardous warning on the label if the intended usage changes to a pesticide. Also, on a Diatomaceous Earth insecticide label it is illegal to use defining words such as: safe, safer, food grade, organic, natural, pure, non-toxic, least-toxic or healthier.
Then, how on earth can an ordinary person, or even a doctor for that matter, make a wise choice and determine if the pure food grade Diatomaceous Earth substance is non-toxic or a poison—especially when the label must provide the cautionary hazardous statement? There are no clues allowed on the label to project confidence to the buyer for help with choosing a safer product.
Unfortunately, changes needed at the government level in the EPA and state requirements are less likely to happen unless there is a much bigger public demand, or God forbid, some major attention-getting health crisis over chemicals.
Not only has there been a chokehold on product availability in major retail stores, there has also been a chokehold on information. Despite the fact Diatomaceous Earth has been available to consumers for about 70-years, most people including the medical profession still know little or nothing about Diatomaceous Earth as an alternative, nor what to do with it. Such a red tape road block for going green in recent decades has caused a national collective preference for poisons, along with an ignorance, and shortage of this safer solution. Amazingly, this miracle product is grown in Mother Nature’s backyard and has existed for millions of years.
Unlike defensive driving where we consciously take the responsibility for our health and safety into our own hands—like buckling ourselves in and carefully putting our children into approved and properly installed car seats, most of the population does not protect themselves, or their children from chemical hazards in the home with the same amount of care. Chemical poisons are often sprayed indiscriminately in kitchens where food is prepared, in bedrooms where we sleep, on furniture where we lounge, on carpets, or in the yard where children and pets play. We have created a train wreck waiting to happen to our beloved one’s health. Unfortunately, for millions of victims of chemical insecticidal poisoning, it is too late to say, “if only we knew then, what we know now.”
Incredibly, after so much damage has been done as a result of toxic chemical pesticides (that were once approved by trusted governing agencies), New York may be beginning to make a change to phase out the State’s use of many pesticides. Environmental-expert.com issued a press release by Bergeson & Campbell, P.C on June 17, 2009, saying that the New York State Assembly on May 5, 2009, approved a measure to ban the use of most pesticides by state agencies and to establish an umbrella committee to manage the use of pesticides by the state. Pesticide use would be curtailed over a 3-year period, beginning in 2010 with those pesticides classed in Toxicity Category I by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), followed by Category II pesticides in 2011, and the remaining pesticides in 2012. Interestingly, this follows in the wake of many Canadian communities, such as in Halibut and Quebec that have banned the use of pesticides more than a decade ago! Some smart environment and health conscious decision makers obviously do not trust their reliance upon the (EPA) and must know something the government doesn’t to accept the responsibility of taking these drastic measures for eliminating risks to their citizens. Such actions will no doubt be rewarded with lowered healthcare costs.
Fortunately, in the last decade, there has been a surge of new public interest in Diatomaceous Earth. Ever since Rachel Carson, a biologist who wrote the popular book Silent Spring over 40-years ago (from which a movie of the same name was made) first brought the dangers of chemical pesticides into the public limelight. It has taken us awhile, but with hindsight, we are now becoming more aware—thanks to Rachel Carson and others who have followed suit, advocating for eliminating poisonous chemicals and replacing them with natural alternatives that promote good health.
A Google search of the phrase “natural home” yields over a half billion results. It’s clear that a vast number of consumers are now interested in safer alternatives. There is no time like the present to discover, or rather re-discover Diatomaceous Earth while the need is growing. With city mayors in a race for “going green” these past few years, this book comes none too soon. BUT, we cannot go “green” as long as we are still reliant on health-damaging toxic pesticides that leave residues of destructive chemicals in our bodies, around our homes, gardens, schools, playgrounds, parks and buildings for dozens of years after just one application.
There are precautions of course, even for natural products, in which education is crucial for proper usage that is elucidated in this book. Still, it hardly seems an excuse for providing a dominance of poisons to the consumer market and creating a scarcity of safer solutions such as Diatomaceous Earth. If the trend continues and chemicals are allowed to stay, considering their multi-damaging affects to health as seen in Chapter Seven, shouldn’t the chemical industry and the marketers of poisons be compensating consumers for the healthcare costs they need as a result of pesticide use?
The much needed change cannot be fully realized unless precious resources such as Diatomaceous Earth are unearthed, (unleashed from the red tape), to be made more easily available to main stream markets such as Walmarts, Walgreen, Target, CVS and Rite Aid pharmacies, Costco, Sams, Home Depot and other similar retail superstores. It is time now for all these chain and supermarket administrators, buyers and managers to take the responsibility for departing from projecting a predominance of poisons onto customers, and instead be proud to advertise and offer safer effective alternatives. All the above, are examples of places where toxic chemical pesticide poisons are liberally marketed with very little or zero competition from natural alternatives such as Diatomaceous Earth. When will these superstores and other supermarkets realize the power of their participation with their mayors and the society in “going green” by including this natural remedy on the front of their insecticide display shelves?
To help their market improve upon today’s comparatively low demands and sales for safer non-toxic alternatives, these marketers and their wholesalers and distributors also need to get involved in demanding a change in the EPA laws. They should request a change to allow for the use of “safe” verbiage to help their customers make a wise choice when reading labels. Currently, there is much confusion over whether a non-toxic insecticide is a poison, or whether a poison is safe. Customers should not have to second guess and risk buying a poison because they cannot tell the difference, especially when the safer alternative label must give unnecessary hazardous cautions, other than a normal dust nuisance warning. The prime concern for these marketers is the power of their partnership with their customers in helping to keep us safe—to aid in protecting the areas for which we shop, which is where it matters most—right where we live, work, sleep and play, to benefit our health and those dearest to us.
As safer alternatives become more in demand, commercially available, and popularly recognized, these manufactures, distributors and retailers will find literally dozens of useful tips in this book about Diatomaceous Earth’s applications and benefits to help their customers.
This practical learning guide provides the long-awaited information for the seller, the consumer, and the health advocate.
Indeed, food grade Diatomaceous Earth fits the job description for choice and change to a safer natural pesticide—an amazing gift from Mother Nature.