Wondering about Silicon Dioxide
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Liz Johnson
Posted on: April 12, 2008

Can you tell me whether silicon dioxide is bad in seasonings or canned chick peas etc., because it sounds pretty scary to me when I read about it in the dictionary?

We do not normally run into silicon dioxide much. The most likely place where it might turn up is in tablets as a manufacturing aid and in powdered seasoning mixes to improve the flow of the powder. It may turn up also in silica packets that are sometimes included in supplement bottles to help keep tablets dry. According to the Nutrition Data website (www.nutritiondata.com) silicon dioxide has the following uses:

* Anticaking Agent

* Carrier

* Defoaming Agent

* Disintegrating Agent

* Dispersing Agent

* Drying Agent

* Formulation Aid

* Tableting Aid

Silicon dioxide is just another name for sand and quartz, and is the principle component of glass and concrete. When ingested it is biologically inert and as such it is not assimilated into the body; it just passes through the gut. So although it sounds scary it really is not, unless of course someone is foolish enough to eat a lot of sand! At the typical levels used in foods and pills it is unlikely to have any impact on health.

Silicon dioxide is a health hazard when the dust is inhaled over long periods as can happen in certain workplaces. Repeated exposure to the dust factories and construction sites causes silicosis of the lungs, but this type of exposure does not occur when consumed in foods and medicines.

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