The Many Unusual Uses for Diatomaceous Earth   

by Pool Builders on 06-10-2010 in Articles

Diatomaceous earth (DE) filtration is common for swimming pools, fish tanks, and other filtering jobs, but what would you say if you heard that there is a food grade of this substance? No, not food for people. Actually, though, it can be mixed with animal feed for several different reasons. It can also be used in a number of other processes. Since DE is nothing but the fossilized remains of diatoms, it's hard to believe it's such a valuable material for modern use, but it is. This article will explore some of the different ways that DE is used.

As stated earlier, DE is the perfect substance for use in swimming pool and fish tank filters. It is composed of tiny chambers where contaminants can be caught and eliminated to help keep the water fresh and clean. Since diatoms are water organisms, DE is mined from underwater deposits and from dry creekbeds. There are large deposits of it in the western part of the U.S. as well as other places in the world. Pool filter grade DE is heated and treated with chemicals which makes it poisonous for humans and animals. Therefore, this grade should not be ingested by anyone.

Diatoms are considered the grass of the ocean, and hundreds of different species of marine life feed on them, just as land animals graze on grass. As a result, billions of diatom shells are deposited on the bottoms of oceans, rivers, streams, and lakes. This creates an almost unending supply of DC which has the appearance of a spiny honeycomb. Since there is so much of it available, people have come up with a variety of ways to use it. Depending on the manner in which it is milled, it can be used in cosmetics,
chemical insecticides, drugs, and paint, just to name a few. It truly is a very versatile material, and we aren't harming the environment in any way by making use of it.

Processed correctly and mixed with animal feed, DE can have positive effects on animals. For example, horse feed mixed with DE twice daily, has been known to cure scours (horse diarrhea) when other types of medications proved ineffective. In addition, horses showed increased appetites, fly reduction, a lack of internal parasites, weight gain, a healthier overall appearance, and a reduction in the odor of their manure. As you can see, DE added to animal feed can have a very positive effect, and it has been approved as safe by the FDA.

Whether it is used for animal feed, in pesticides and cosmetics, or for diatomaceous earth filtration in pools and fish tanks, there are many uses that have been discovered for what is essentially a waste product. Now that's ecology!

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