Questions about DE for sand filter

geh

Gold Supporter
Nov 28, 2020
106
New Orleans
I bought a 24 lbs box of Clorox brand DE for pool filters at Lowes. I've read the How To thread about adding DE to a sand filter and have a few questions about toxicity and use.

I've read a bit about the carcinogenic risk. Unless I'm missing something, it seems cancer risk is only related to inhalation, with the potential for skin and eye irritation. Referencing this article and material safety data sheet for a similar brand here: National Pesticide Information Center and Material Safety Data Sheet

The back of the box has a warning: this product can expose you to crystalline silica, which is known to the state of California to cause cancer. Not to start a political conversation, but is it not known to other states to cause cancer? My question regarding this is whether the State of California, having more stringent safety measures than other states, is being overly reactive, or is this something to take seriously?

With that in mind, the packaging is very awkward. The DE is in a giant paper bag inside a giant box with no way to easily open it without runaway tears in the paper bag, no way to scoop it out without spilling a bunch on the ground, and no way to seal it once its open (seems it should be in smaller, resealable plastic bags or a plastic drum, if its a carcinogen that can cause lung disease form airborne particulate). Is this ok to store in my garage as is, or am I exposing myself to the potential of longterm pulmonary risk unless I find a better container to store it?

Regarding the application, I found that a little over two cups was the amount to raise my filter pressure by 1 psi (from 18psi to19psi). Recommendation and directions say to do this after backwash. So, when I backwash does that flush out the DE in the filter and that is why its time to add more? If not, is there a point where there is too much DE in my filter that I should be aware of? This box should last me for years.

This morning I backwashed and added the DE. So of course, we had a rain event that overtopped my pool and had to backwash again to bring the water level down. Wondering if I flushed out what I had added. If so I can add more later this week after all the rain is gone.
 

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YippeeSkippy

Mod Squad
Gold Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Jan 17, 2012
17,612
Evans, Georgia
I purchased a box from ACE Hardware and transferred the product into a large container. This way I can open it and use it easier. And yeah, you'll be using that box a while.

California says *everything* is carcinogenic- Don't huff the stuff, and you should be fine.

Yes, when you backwash that top dressing of DE on the sand gets removed, as the water runs backwards *up* the sand and out tot he waste line.

Maddie :flower:
 
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hwy17

Well-known member
Mar 17, 2021
175
Northern California
Prop 65 has gone too far in some areas, but I don't think DE powder is one of them. It is a legitimate inhalation risk and deserves to bear a warning as such.

It's not like powdered asbestos bad but should treated the same as any other fine silica such as concrete mix dust, etc.

...that and I wouldn't be surprised if a detailed analysis did find the material is commonly contaminated with trace asbestos just like talc products.

Fun fact all pool DE in the US comes from one mine (or quarry?) in California.

Your multiport might have a waste setting you can use to drain water rather than backwashing, which should leave the de in place. Otherwise yes as soon as you turn it on backwash the DE will all flush out.
 
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geh

Gold Supporter
Nov 28, 2020
106
New Orleans
Thanks, the monsoon overtopped my pool twice yesterday, so once things settle down and I get the chemistry back in line, I'll backwash and add more DE to help filter the contaminants from this event. I think I'll store this in an airtight plastic bin and only handle it outdoors and masked.
 

sacredcow

Silver Supporter
May 8, 2018
208
Houston, TX
Pool Size
14000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Prop 65 has gone too far in some areas, but I don't think DE powder is one of them. It is a legitimate inhalation risk and deserves to bear a warning as such.

It's not like powdered asbestos bad but should treated the same as any other fine silica such as concrete mix dust, etc.

I'm in the process of restoring a 1979 VW Superbeetle and just ordered a bunch of parts from an outfit in (expectedly) California. Every single item had a sticker on it that it can cause cancer, including an unpainted piece of metal. :unsure:

I'm fairly sure that the company got tired of figuring out which item needed a sticker and which didn't that they ultimately decided to just put it on every item they sell.

But what if stickers cause cancer? 🤯
 

geh

Gold Supporter
Nov 28, 2020
106
New Orleans
I'm in the process of restoring a 1979 VW Superbeetle and just ordered a bunch of parts from an outfit in (expectedly) California. Every single item had a sticker on it that it can cause cancer, including an unpainted piece of metal. :unsure:

I'm fairly sure that the company got tired of figuring out which item needed a sticker and which didn't that they ultimately decided to just put it on every item they sell.

But what if stickers cause cancer? 🤯
Funny! And as @hwy17 said above, Cali likely has gone too far in some of this, but I will say this stuff is very fine powder and I can see how inhaling it can be bad for you. I live in cancer alley in Louisiana and I think I'm exposed to enough pulmonary toxins thqat best to be careful with it to live as long as I can. Trying to minimize the risks from bad exposure.
 
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sacredcow

Silver Supporter
May 8, 2018
208
Houston, TX
Pool Size
14000
Surface
Plaster
Chlorine
Salt Water Generator
SWG Type
Hayward Aqua Rite (T-15)
Funny! And as @hwy17 said above, Cali likely has gone too far in some of this, but I will say this stuff is very fine powder and I can see how inhaling it can be bad for you. I live in cancer alley in Louisiana and I think I'm exposed to enough pulmonary toxins thqat best to be careful with it to live as long as I can. Trying to minimize the risks from bad exposure.

For sure, inhaling DE is a mistake you'll only make once. I got in a cloud of it one time and it was an unpleasant experience which I do not care to repeat.

I left Baton Rouge for H-Town in 2017, so I'm not sure if that was an upgrade or a downgrade.
 

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