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Diatomaceous Earth Background
These pages are for information purposes only. Please consult a health
care professional for medical treatment and/or regarding the applicability of any opinion or recommendations
with respect to your symptoms or condition. No statement in this information should
be construed as a claim for cure, treatment or prevention of any disease or sickness.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE) (aka Fossil Shell Flour) background

Although diatomaceous earth is mined from the ground it is not an earth. It is the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae.

On land, the basic food for all animals is plants. Then there are the animals who eat the plant eaters. The silica content of all living organisms is linked with the diet. Silica is highest for the pure plant eaters and lowest for the pure meat eaters.

In all water, tiny one-celled plants or plankton live by the billions. They are the basic food of the water dwelling animals. Sea life could not survive without the diatoms.

As these creatures die,  their shells or exoskeletons drift to the bottom of the ocean or lake, building up large deposits. Each dead diatom exoskeleton now is a piece of porous sand. Geologic changes put these deposits on dry land, making them accessible.

Adapted from “Ag” Marketplace: What In The World Is Diatomaceous Earth? And, What Can It Do For The
Livestock Producer? Farmer? Animal Owner?
By Janet “J.D.” Sands
Millions of years ago, in all the waters of the earth, microscopic one-celled plants called diatoms took the
minerals from the waters and created protective shells for themselves. Diatoms once lived in quantities far
beyond the mind’s ability to conceive, and as they died their shells drifted to the bottom of the sea beds. In this
manner, vast deposits of diatom shells were laid down. Through the history of man’s existence, a wide variety of
valuable uses have been found for what has come to be called “diatomaceous earth.” There are now more than
1,500 ways in which man benefits from this incredible material left by diatoms, Silicon Dioxide, along with a
smattering of trace minerals.

There are more than 25,000 species of diatoms and only two primary types of diatomaceous earth deposits.
Not all diatoms are aquatic; some exist in moist conditions, but since three-fourths of the earth is covered with
oceans, most deposits are of the saltwater type. Just one liter of sea water may contain as many as ten million
one-celled pieces of algae. There are deposits which also occur in fresh water lakes. Food grade DE comes from
the fresh water deposits
Thousands of animal owners and livestock breeders have discovered that adding fossil shell flour to their
animals’ rations has produced a number of incredible benefits.
While other insecticide poisons kill chemically as neurotoxins, the insect pests (over time) develop a resistance
or an immunity to the chemicals, food-grade DE kills bugs physically and insects have not been known to
develop immunity to its physical action. Food-grade DE is certain death to insects because it kills by actually
puncturing the insect’s exoskeleton, disrupting its soft waxy shell structure, chewing up its digestive organs and
causing death in a short time by dehydration.
Some of the ways insects are destroyed by DE:
1. Laceration of the chitin in the bellows of the joint.
2. Severance of the muscles of the tracheole valve.
3. Perforation of the walls of the trachea and tracheoles.
4. Mandibular damage by abrasion.
5. Esophageal laceration.
6. Peritonitis due to perforations in the walls of the digestive system.
7. Severance of the constrictive muscles of the malpigian system.
8. Absorption of the wax, allowing dehydration.
9. Starvation of the larvae.
10. Plugs the spiracles.

The DE particle scrapes punctures into the body of the insect causing a loss of fluid. An insect does not have
blood vessels as do higher forms of life. They have a shell that is semi-porous—more or less like unglazed
porcelain. In order to keep their body fluids from evaporation through their shells, nature also puts a waxy
coating on the outside.  Once the protective coating is gone, the insects slowly dehydrate. National Geographic
tells about cockroaches that died in 12 hours after exposure.DE also stops up the breathing apparatus of insects.
It is imperative that only natural food grade diatomaceous earth be used for insect control.
This noncrystalline silica (food-grade) is not a hazard to humans or animals. “Silicosis
refers to lung contamination and irritation by crystalline or free silica (SiO2). Crystalline describes the orientation
of the SiO2 molecules which occur in a fixed pattern in contrast to the nonperiodic, random molecular
arrangement defined as amorphous. Exposure to free silica is an occupational hazard to workers.” Common
Sense Pest Control Quarterly, volume III, number 1, Winter 1987.

The World Health Organization cautions that DE with a crystalline (free) silica content over 3% is dangerous for
ingestion by humans or animals. Food-grade DE has less than 1% free silica.
Swimming pool DE ranges from 60% to 70% free silica and is considered to be carcinogenic. There are very
few deposits of DE that meet these free silica minimum standards. Because inhaling any dust is not a good
idea, it is recommended that you  use a simple dust mask when working with large quantities.
The microscopic shells of diatomaceous earth (DE) are composed of silicon dioxide and
around 14 trace minerals. DE does not dissolve in water. In fact, even in the
stomach of animals or birds, surrounded with powerful digestive (acidic) juices, they pass all the way through
the body almost complete. A very small amount is leached out. As it passes through the stomach and intestinal
tract, a number of important things happen. These happenings occur as physical actions, not CHEMICAL, not
The shape of these shells and the size of the holes in the surface of these shells is very important. Many
harmful things entering the body have a positive charge. Silica is a semi-conductive mineral which when
warmed by body heat becomes negatively charged and gives off electrons. These negatively charged mineral
ions and/or individual shells attract bad microbes, free radicals, positively charged waste and other harmful
things. Acting as magnets, the negatively charged shells and/or ions attract and absorb positive things that are
small enough to go through the holes. Add a sugar molecule and you can trap toxins into the porous food-grade
DE particle which is then excreted safely out of the body.
Because of the strong charge, each shell can absorb a large number of positively charged substances, whether
they be chemical or in the form of bacteria or viruses. They pass on through the stomach and intestine, taking
these harmful substances out of the body.
In today’s world, most all food (animal or human), all water and air contains harmful substances, which taken
internally cause stress on the immune system, using energy that could go for the production of milk or meat.
For example, “Dr. Johnson, a Canadian veterinarian, discovered that DE absorbs the bacteria causing “scours.”
Takes them out of the body and the animal is protected from unnecessary stress and possible death.
Beneficial effects of silica per Gerhard Leibold, N.D.

Stimulates cell metabolism and cell formation.
Inhibits the aging process in tissues.
Necessary for the structure and functioning of connective tissue.
Strengthens and stimulates the immune system.
Silica is important for the development of healthy nails and hair and regular intake can stop unnecessary
hair loss.
Strengthens and stimulates the vascular system; lowers blood pressure and improves the condition called arteriosclerosis
Increases elasticity and firmness of the blood vessels. 
Silica is indispensable for the elasticity of lung tissue and, therefore, is a basic therapy for lung and
respiratory disorders.
Has anti-inflammatory disinfecting, absorbing and odor binding effects. 
Some of the disorders that benefit from regular silica intake include: Disorders of the throat, nose, ears and
teeth, disorders of the digestive and secretive organs, bone injuries and problems, skin problems and
injuries including itching, rashes, abscesses, boils, acne, callouses, warts, eczemas, burns, frostbite,
benign skin sores, insect bites and bed sores, female illnesses and as a base therapy for cancer treatment.*
*Cancer occurs mainly in middle and older ages at a time when the human body contains less silica. Silica
especially influences the degenerated white blood cells of cancer patients, activates the regeneration of normal
protein and increases the immune system against cancer. Silica helps support the healing process.


Aluminum (Al),  0.65 %
Boron (B),  0.0023 %
Calcium (Ca),  0.40 %
Cooper (Cu),  0.0019 %
Iron (Fe),  0.72 %
Magnesium (Mg),  0.21 %
Manganese (Mn),  0.0052 %
Phosphorus (as P205),  0.037 %
Potassium (K),  0.16 %
Sodium (Na),  0.28 %
Strontium (Sr), ppm 59.9
Sulfate Sulfur (S),  0.062 %
Titanium (Ti), ppm 420
Vanadium (V), ppm 43.8
Zinc (Zn),  0.0022 %
Chlorides .074% or 740 ppm
Silica (as Si02),  79.9 %

TITANIUM joins with manganese and sodium as well as three other elements not
found in (DE)and keeps the coats of animals cleaner as
well as giving the hair a waxy sheen.
GALLIUM seems to increase the effectiveness in the rumen of joining into a
single mol magnesium, potassium and sodium which strengthens the bone structure of
horses, cattle and cats.
VANADIUM acts as a catalyst and as such is probably a governor for calcium in
the digestive tract of animals especially during pregnancy and immediately thereafter. I
have found that wherein it is not present in dairy cattle they are more susceptible to Milk
STRONTIUM is a complex silicate when it is a brewsterite as found in (DE).
 It also appears to act as a governor for sulphates in the digestive tract of cattle.
SODIUM as NaSo4 also acts as a cleaning agent when fed to animals similar to the
chemical action titanium.
BORON is a germicide agent.
CONCLUSION. A of these elements are so enjoined into either a chelate or
colloidal form until they appear to work in unison with each other rather than as individual
elements. Thinking of them as individual elements is quite misleading.
None of these elements found in Basic Perma Guard are considered poisonous.
Gallium, Titanium and Vanadium are in the 4f and 5f RARE EARTH groups. Work
research now being done on rare earth are showing that they are truly important in the
field of plant and animal nutrition.
1. Strong, Ralph K., Kingzett’s Chem. Enc., D. Van Nostrand Co. Mc. New York, Eight Ed.
2. Hubbard, Henry D. Welch Publication, Perodic Chart of Atoms, Chicago, Ill.
Yours sincerely,
Carey A. Reams, DS

Cattle need trace minerals like fossil-shell flour.
Increases herd appetite, health and production. 
Fossil-shell flour stimulates the basic metabolism. 
Increase protein digestion with fossil-shell flour. 
Satisfies and stops dirt licking and corral gnawing with fossil-shell flour. 
The percentage increase result of each fossil-shell flour
feeding can be ascertained from a fertilizer protein analysis.
Suggested feeding instructions:
Kittens 1/2 teaspoon
Cats 1 teaspoon
Dogs under 50 lbs. 2 teaspoons
Dogs over 50 lbs. 1 Tablespoon
Dogs over 100 lbs. 2 Tablespoons
Cattle 2% by weight of dry ration
Calves 4 grams in morning
Dairy cattle 2% by weight of dry ration
Chickens 5% in feed
Goats 1% in grain
Hogs 2% of weight in feed ration
Horses 1/2 - 1 cup in daily ration
Sheep 1% in ground grain
B. DALL BALL, Director
October 31, 1967
Our animal pathologist has examined the vital organs and intestinal components submitted,
both macroscopically and microscopically, and has found no visible evidence or organ
These components consisted of brain, thyroid, rib section, lung, heart, liver, true stomach,
small intestine section, large intestine section, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and forestomach.
These organs were submitted under affidavit as being from a slaughtered dairy cow having
free choice access to fossil shell flour for approximately five years.
Robert L. Kirkpatrick
Supervisor, D. And L.
Laboratory Division
 RLK: et
Customer Comments regarding Feeding Food-grade DE to Their Animals:

Completely safe and nontoxic
Controls fleas and ticks
Stimulates basic metabolism
Converts feed better
Reduces odor and moisture in barns and stalls
Results in better coat and/or hoof condition 
Cost effective 
Reduces annual vet bills 
Controls worms and internal parasites without chemicals 
Reduces overall animal stress
Dr. Phillip Schaible, while heading the Department of Poultry Sciences at Michigan State University,
made a study of European literature regarding adding Diatomaceous Earth to dairy cows’ feed and
made the following report:
“Contains 15 trace minerals important to animal diets, DE mixes well with all feeds while guarding
against insect damage. Prevents worms and keeps virus epidemics from developing. Saves albumen,
destroys harmful acids, safeguards the stomach. Improves health and growth of young animals Causes
better digestion, allowing animals to absorb a higher percentage of protein from its regular diet.”
Dr. C.S. Hansen, D.V.M., with some 8,000 chickens, kept half on regular diet, added Fossil Shell
Flour to the other group. The Fossil Shell Flour group immediately had a lower death rate, egg
production went up, and egg breakage went way down. His profitability went way up.
Dr. H.D. Johnson, D.V.M., Saskatchewan Vet Clinic, Canada, worked with 2,000 calves for two
years without a single case of scours, using Fossil Shell Flour. He says, “using Fossil Shell Flour,
we have been able to eliminate vaccines and antibiotics.”
Dr. M.F. Petty, D.V.M.: “The use of Fossil Shell Flour gave immediate elimination and control of
worms, stopped pigs from rooting and chewing feeder boxes, reduced manure odor, greatly reduced
fly population and increased feed efficiency. Really improved profitability.”
Capitol South Syndicate by Dan Miller, manager: “Feeding Fossil Shell Flour to my show and race
horses, stallions, mares, foals and horses in training, we have seen improvements in their hair coat
and their attitude. Flies and parasites are less of a problem.”
Leslie “Shorty” Thomas, Trainer, L Frank Roper Stables, Winter Garden, Florida: “I have been
actively engaged in training some of the finest walking horses in the country for the past 15 years. I
take pride in the appearance and health of the horses under my care, which have won many
national awards against stiff competition. I am constantly on the alert for products I feel can improve
their health and condition. I am grateful to have found Fossil Shell Flour and here is why: It stopped
scours, noticeably reduced flies, increased appetites, better feed conversion, eliminated internal
parasites and created a healthier appearance. I would definitely recommend this product to other
Johnnie Firestone on sheep: “We were losing one sheep every three days from the fringe tape worm
in the bile duct. We started feeding the animals Fossil Shell Flour, mixed with salt and cotton seed meal.
Within two weeks the dying stopped. Since that time we have lost two sheep, but not from worms. To say
that I am sold on Fossil Shell Flour is a rank understatement. I suggest to anyone, “just try it. It does not
cost much!’”
Michigan Department of Agriculture made a laboratory study of internal organs from a cow using
Fossil Shell Flour five years and found no visible evidence of abnormalities.
University of Illinois, referring to tests run on dairy cattle fed 2% of Fossil Shell Flour in their rations,
stated there was no apparent harmful effect and that there was no evidence of the DE in the milk.
Within a few days...they stopped licking the soil completely. After feeding it continuously, we found that
the average production of milk and butterfat per cow was increased.
I have 30 head of beef cows, also 10 head of dairy cattle and feed most of the calves. I also farrow and
feed out 450-500 head of hogs per year. Now, to share some of the end results, I have been pleased
1. Elimination of internal parasites - without reoccurrences
2. Fly Control
3. Odor Problem
4. Healthier Animals
5. Better Feed Efficiency
6. The Advantage of the 14 Natural Trace Minerals
7. Reduction of vet bills and death losses to almost zero
In warm weather I have found that by dusting the bedding, sows and their litters (in addition to feeding it)
I have no fly problem and because of its high absorbency it is a big help in keeping the bedding dry. I
feel this usage encourages the small pigs to begin eating the Fossil Flour sooner, too. It also takes care
of ticks and lice. All in all, it gets the pigs off to a better start.
I have found if fed to adult dogs, puppies, etc. at the rate of one teaspoonful to small ones and a tablespoonful
to the large ones, this will control hook worms very quickly. Hook worms disappeared following
the first days of feeding...large round worms and bots were passed when fossil flour was fed to horses,
but it has failed to control strongilic. Ticks were retarded when fossil flour was fed to dogs.
One reason for the increased milk production was simply better feed assimilation - the result of
food-grade DE anti-caking properties. The second reason was improved fly control. Residual DE in the
cow manure effectively killed fly larvae. Continued feeding meant increasingly effective fly control. If
they can not breed they can’t fly.
It is a known fact that Florida soil is lacking in minerals. Therefore, it is essential that a mineral supplement
be added to the diet of all grazing animals. I have previously used various types of mineral feed
additives with no visible results. Now I am more convinced than ever that the 14 trace minerals contained
in fossil shell flour are more available to an animal, possibly through better assimilation with the
digestive system. This fact has been proven to me by observing a definite improvement in the appearance
and general health of my animals which are receiving a daily total of 5 ounces of fossil shell flour.
Following is my summary of the most significant and consistent results achieved: Healthier-looking
animal with a definite sheen to its coat; lasting absence of internal parasites; better feed conversion
(weight gains were noticeable with no increase in feed; in some cases with a decrease in feed); reduction
in odor (an indication that the animals are retaining more protein from their feed); fly control (no larva
latch in the manure); cured scours (even in several cases where other medication had failed); improved
appetites (horses which were “picky” eaters cleaned up their food more readily.)
1. Internal parasite control - Round worms (Ascarids) were observed in all pens being fed fossil flour on
the third day following the beginning of test and for 3 - 4 days following. Parasite studies - Direct
smear and flotation method showed no internal parasites at any time in the test group. The control
group, even though previously dewormed with piperazine, has ascarids - low level and
M. hirvdinaceous - low level.
2. Rooting and eating feeders - By the tenth day after beginning the test all hogs on fossil flour had
stopped rooting and destroying the wooden feeders while the control group showed no change and
continued to destroy feeders and fences at the same rate. They also continued to root in the holding
pens prior to shipment.
3. Odor control - By the end of the third week the manure of the test group dried more quickly and was
noticeably less offensive to the smell than that of the control group.
4. Fly control - The test didn’t last long enough nor were the hogs separated far enough apart for an
accurate estimation to be made concerning fly population; however, it was apparent at the end of
about six weeks that there were not as many flies present in the parlor as there had been previously,
and there was no weather variation or moisture variation to account for the decrease in population.
The fly population did, however, decrease markedly and apparently lastingly.
5. Weight gain - No results.
Another possible advantage - When castrating 13 litters one morning, for the first time I found no ticks
on the little pigs’ bellies. The only diatomaceous earth that could have been in their bedding would have
to be from their dung because I had not put any in it.
We had one sow that seemed to have breathing problems, making a sort of snorting noise. After two
weeks it disappeared.
We had tried the past de-wormers and found that despite our best efforts, the goats managed to spit of
most of it. We began feeding (food-grade) DE along with alfalfa pellets and sweet feed and observed
thatthey gobbled it up as if it was sugar. They would lay in it (in the large deed pans) and otherwise roll
in it and lick every last bit of it from the pan. During the next weeks we noticed the hair on the goats
began to look slick and shiny, and the goats themselves were more satisfied with the same amount of
feed...I found a 2 x 4 in the barn crawling with chicken mites. Instead of trying to dust each of more than
there were no mites anywhere. Each laying season I put more DE in the nests. DE is the only “treat
ment” we’ve used on and in our animals since those first 2 bags we bought years ago.
Every type of animal or bird that has had these products added to its diet show many positive results, any
one of which makes it profitable for an owner to include it in daily livestock and/or pet rations. This is
very true with chickens, especially those in the chicken factories. Every day hundreds of dead chickens
are hauled away to be buried. A dead chicken does not produce many eggs (or meat)! When fossil shell
flour is added to its rations, the death rate drops dramatically. The very first weeks show a valuable
increase in the number of eggs produced. Egg breakage deceases. The silicon makes the shells much
harder. Anyone breaking an egg on the edge of a frying pan will be very aware of this.
The manure of the barn decreases, making it a much more pleasant place in which to work, and it is
probably healthier for the chickens. This lowering of the odor is very likely due to the more complete
digestion of the protein in the feed. The diatomaceous earth in the rations passes through the birds into
the manure, making it impossible for fly larva to hatch. Making no other control efforts, the fly population
should decrease around 90% within two weeks.
Litter Bugs are greatly reduced, but to make it even better, if the manure is dusted with DE once a week,
they will be reduced almost to zero.
If any one of the above things are true, a chicken operation cannot afford to be without fossil shell flour!
No university has properly run the necessary efficacy tests needed to prove or disprove the above-mentioned
claims. However, two schools have run a few health tests. For example, the University of Arkansas did a study
to determine whether the addition of diatomaceous earth was harmful to chickens. Their conclusion was that it
posed no threat.
Grain and Seed Storage
Fossil shell flour (DE) does not have to be removed before use. In fact, food-grade DE contains 14
trace minerals which, when incorporated into bread, yield no change in flavor or texture.
Controls insects in wheat, rice, sorghum, oats, rye, barley, corn and seeds of all kinds.
Controls rice weevils, lesser grain bobers, flat grain beetles, red flour beetles, confused flour beetles, merchant
grain beetles, saw-toothed grain beetles, granary weevils, larvae of the Indian meal moth, etc.
For commercial use, it is recommended that 7 - 10 lbs. of DE be used per 2000 lbs. of grain, but we find that
many people are using less successfully.
For practical purposes, 1 lb. of  DE will protect 300 lbs. of grain or seeds. That means that
1 oz. will protect 18 lbs. of grain.
For more convenience for most uses, 1 pound equals 6 cups. One cup will protect 50 lbs. of grain or seeds.
Make certain your storage containers are proper for the job with good sealing lids. Never store in a container that is wet or dirty.
Use a small container with a lid and fill it about 1/3. Add your DE and shake. This insures that each grain is coated. Then pour into the larger storage container..
Any DE left over can be used in many ways, or shared with friends, neighbors or relatives, or used for other
purposes. The shelf life is indefinite.
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