Sand in my chili powder?

The store-bought chili powder I’ve been using says it contains silicon dioxide to “keep the powder free-flowing.”

Um, is sand safe to eat? At the very least, wouldn’t it be bad on your teeth?

Most artificial sweeteners contain some sort of sand, too (I like to keep track of which brands use which sort of sand. Hey, everyone needs a hobby). It’s usually listed as an anti-caking agent, which means that it helps prevent the stuff forming big clumps (this is especially a concern with water-soluable poweders). The quantities are truely minute, though, and what little sand you actually do ingest this way will just pass right through you.

Silicon Dioxide, a.k.a. sand, is added to other things you eat, like salt, and is put there because it is an anti-caking agent, which helps make products “free flowing”. Too much silicon can be poisonous – inhaling crystalline silica can lead to silicosis, a disabling, nonreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease. But noone’s ever developed this condition from eating silicon dioxide, the stuff you’re eating.

The particles of silica used for anti-caking purposes are less than 20 microns in diameter, which is not even worthy of being called sand.

Dust, anyone?

Interestingly, look on the ingredients list of your toothpaste for Hydrated Silica (pretty much wet sand). They use sand as an abrasive on your teeth.