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Old 01-02-2004, 07:18 PM   #1
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diatom causes cancer?

I emailed marineland about their h.o.t. magnum 250 filter. I asked about using the filter as a cleanup filter and maybe use diatom powder in filter and this is what they said. We don't recommend using diatom powder. It was shown to cause cancer to animals, and harm to fish gills. Is this true? Before I received a reply to the email I sent to them, I changed my mind and I am going to buy a diatom filter from bigals. If this is true I might want to change my mind again. If anyone has any info please let me know. Thanks!

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Old 01-03-2004, 08:40 PM   #2
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That's pretty surprising that they say that, because the ocean floor is LOADED with diatom fossils. One of the reasons cancer is caused is by a continuous irritation of cells, so perhaps this is why the study says this. Diatom fossils could be irritating I suppose, take alook at them under an electron microscope. But cancer.... I'm fed up full with that/this/everything causes cancer, the studies are losing bearing because there are WAY too many man-made pollutants/variables in the air and water to just say hey, this causes cancer. Peanut butter causes cancer, pepper is a carcinogen. Etc. Also more often than not the "studies by THEM" are performed by non-independent labs to benefit the income of a certain entity.
With all of the junk science floating around today I sure would want to request a nice set of test results along with the researching facility that "says" that diatom fossils cause cancer.

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Old 01-06-2004, 05:51 AM   #3
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There is ample evidence that diatomaceous earth (powder) can cause lung cancer in humans if it is inhaled. Diatoms (when alive) produce a shell composed of silica and this is what remains behind when they die and is the primary component of diatomaceous earth. If inhaled it can cause a condition called silicosis which can then lead to cancer. HOWEVER...I can't find any references to a similar condition in fish gills....though I suppose the possibility is not too far-fetched to consider.

Certainly wouldn't prevent me from using diatom powder in my filter...though I'd be careful about inhaling the dust myself. You might want to do all your work with the actual diatom powder itself in a well-ventilated place.
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Old 01-06-2004, 09:24 AM   #4
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As Fruitbat said its more the powder and suspended particles vs the non suspended presence. Kind of like asbestos. Its fairly save unless you go and start messing with it.

On a side note its been found that drinking to much water can cause brain damage aswell. Im sure someones publishing a medical article abotu how breathing causes cancer.
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Old 01-06-2004, 09:24 AM   #5
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(edited, we posted at the same time FF)

I agree FishFreek.... no kidding.

I agree fruitbat, inhaling a bunch of this stuff esp. over a long period of time is going to be bad news.

But as always there's conflicting reports...

"Safety. Despite being composed of silica, these dusts do not cause silicosis, a lung disease that is associated with industrial workers using crystalline or "free" forms of silica. Pesticide quality DE and silica aerogel are amorphous silica, which does not cause silicosis. Inhalation of road dust and grain dust is likely to be more harmful than DE."


usually over 97 per cent amorphous silica, which does not cause silicosis, which is associated only with crystalline silica. Indeed, inhalation of road dust and grain dust IS likely to be more harmful than DE.


Chronic Exposure:
Prolonged inhalation exposure may produce silicosis. Chronic symptoms include cough, dyspnea, wheezing, increased susceptibility to tuberculosis, decreased chest expansion, and repeated nonspecific chest illnesses. Progressive respiratory and cardiopulmonary impairment may be fatal. Chronic inhalation of crystalline silica is a lung cancer hazard.


Inhalation of crystalline silica has been classified by IARC as carcinogenic for humans. Inhalation of crystalline silica is also a known cause of silicosis, a non-cancerous lung disease caused by excessive exposure to crystalline silica.

et cetera.... bottom line.. dont inhale a bunch of DE and U B OK!
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Old 01-06-2004, 09:44 AM   #6
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The company is required to disclose this information as a good faith action. Just think... you are probably exposed to worse stuff on a daily basis living on Long Island or anywhere in the metro area than you would be by adding DE to your filter.

If you are still worried, wear a dust mask and work in a well ventilated area.

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