No, Silica Gel Isn’t Poisonous
For almost as many years as we’ve been in business, and that would be thirty, we’ve been trying to dispel the notion that silica gel is poisonous. For a variety of reasons, people have always just assumed that it was deadly and they’ve avoided it like the plague. Much of the blame can be attributed to the packets that come in medicine and beef jerky with the words “DO NOT EAT” stamped on them. We’ve all seen them and assumed it was because they were poison.
Oddly enough, this stamp has nothing to do with silica gel being poisonous, but because the beads themselves swell when they absorb moisture, so a child, a pet, or any person swallowing the beads could choke on their enlarged diameters. So, in short, it’s a choking issue, not a toxicity issue. The way the silica gel absorbs water means it grows as it pulls from the air. That growth, when enough beads are present in the throat, can cause a person – especially small children – to choke. If this occurs you should call 911 immediately, but only if the person isn’t breathing. Just swallowing the beads won’t harm them.
Now, let’s look at the facts. Silica gel is chemically inert meaning it doesn’t react when placed in proximity to other chemicals. This is important because water, even the water found in our saliva, is a chemical substance. Its formula is H2O. So, knowing that silica gel is chemically inert and stable means it won’t react when ingested – at least not in any toxic way. The only worry when they’ve been ingested is whether or not they’ve cleared the throat. If so, you’ll be okay – even if it’s a pet that swallowed them. They’re non-toxic and won’t cause any serious discomfort to the person or animal that swallowed them.
The sole exception to this rule is our blue indicating packets and bulk silica gel beads – but only the blue! These contain cobalt chloride and should not be eaten or swallowed for any reason. Cobalt chloride is moderately toxic through ingestion and can cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps if ingested in moderate amounts. These amounts could be present in enough of our blue indicating silica gel products that car should be taken around children and pets. Our white, non-indicating bulk silica gel and orange-to-green indicating contain no cobalt chloride and are safe to use around your family and pets without worry.
At Interteck, we pride ourselves on our thorough testing regimen to ensure that all the products we manufacture and distribute are safe and approved for consumer use by all governing regulatory agencies. Your safety and continued business are what keep us going strong and have for three decades. That means a great deal to us and we pour that feeling into every product we make and sell so you can feel good, and feel 100% safe, using what you’ve purchased to improve the quality of your life.