College science professor explains the risks to silica exposure

Silica, or silicon dioxide (SiO2), is one of the most abundant materials on earth. Found naturally in various organisms as well in sand particles in many parts of the world, it is also manufactured synthetically for various purposes including crystals, silica gels and in the food industry. With so much use of silica in our daily lives, scientists have wondered about health benefits as well as the potential harmful effects of silica. One of the hypothesized harmful effects of silica is that it may cause cancer in human beings. Let us examine some of the scientific research conducted to obtain an answer to the question.

Diatomaceous earth

The question of the potentially carcinogenic quality of silica becomes even more relevant when we particularly consider the food-grade uses of a substance known as diatomaceous earth. It is composed of ancient aquatic organisms, now fossilized, whose skeletons were primarily composed of silica. Commonly appearing as a white power, diatomaceous earth is a kind of naturally-occurring soft siliceous sedimentary rock. Its highly porous nature causes it to have low density and an abrasive feel.

Although diatomaceous earth has many industrial applications such as the composition of explosives and packaging, what we are concerned with here is how it impacts human beings. And there are various ways it can do that. The most important use of diatomaceous earth, for our purposes, is in filtering drinking water. Its chemical and physical composition enables it to stop very fine particles that can easily pass through cloths and other filtration processes. This is why it’s so popular in the filtration of drinking water and other beverages such as beer or wine.

Diatomaceous earth can also have an impact on humans due to its use as a natural abrasive in toothpastes and some facial scrubs. It is also approved by FDA for its use in agriculture and livestock. You can click here to purchase natural diatomaceous earth.