Diatomaceous Earth

diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous Earth:  Commonly used as an insecticide. It is also used as a filter medium, absorbent, and mild abrasive in various products.

What is in it? It is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock that breaks down into a fine powder. It is composed of the fossilized remains of hard shelled algae (diatoms). It works as an insecticide by absorbing the fat layer of the insect's outer skeleton which leads to dehydration.


Is it toxic? It is non-toxic to humans and pets.


Health Effects:

Eyes: Possible irritation due to foreign body effects.

Ingestion: Poisoning is not expected from ingestion of the powder.


What to do?

Eyes:  Rinse eyes with a gentle stream of water for 5 minutes by any of the following methods:

  • Pour a gentle stream of water from a jug or clean teapot over the eye from the inside corner by the nose, across the eye, flowing out towards the ear.
  • Submerge eye in a container of water. Open and close eye.
  • Young children may be wrapped like a mummy in a towel with arms at side and held over the sink, tub or laid on counter during flushing.

Ingestion: Rinse out mouth and drink a small glass of water or milk.

How can I prevent exposure? Keep out of reach of children. Return to safe storage immediately after use.

Need more information: Call the Poison Control Centre.


© 2012 BC Drug and Poison Information Centre