We find small packets of silica gel in almost all kinds of products as silica gel is desiccant. Meaning, it has the ability to absorb and hold water vapor.
Do you notice that a small packet of silica gel included in the package each time you buy a leather product or even food like pepperoni?
This is because the gel inside that packet can limit the growth of mold and lessen the chances of spoilage due to the lack of moisture.
When you buy electronic products, check if the box or package has packets of silica gel, too, as they help prevent condensation, which might cause damage to the items.
How Silica or Silicon Dioxide Works
If a bottle of vitamins, for example, contained any moisture vapor and were cooled fast, the condensing moisture would damage the pills.
You will find small packets of silica gel in any item that would be affected by condensation or excess moisture. Don't worry about the harm this tiny piece can do.
Silica gel is almost harmless- the reason we find it in nearly every food product. Also known as silicon dioxide or Si02, silica is the same substance we find in quartz.
Silica, in gel form, comprises tiny pores which have the ability to absorb and hold moisture. Essentially, it is a porous sand.
Silica gel can adsorb roughly 40 percent of its weight in moisture and can take the comparative humidity in a sealed or secure container town to approximately 40 percent.
According to pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences professor Roger Clemens, from the USC School of Pharmacy, International Center for Regulatory Science, "silica gel packets are desiccants," a fancy way describing them as absorbers of moisture.
As earlier explained, Clemens also said, we frequently see packets in a snack food pack, bottle of dietary supplement, and medicine packets.
Essentially, moisture causes the food to get stale, moldy, and otherwise no longer fun to eat. Therefore, silica gel helps keep the food fresher for a longer time.
Silica, particularly Si02, is at times directly mixed in small amounts to powdery products "to avoid caking," explained Clemens.
Should We Worry About the 'Do Not Eat' Warning?
According to the National Capital Poison Center or NCPC, we should not worry if we see the warning, 'Do Not Eat,' in the packet as silica gel is not poisonous.
It depends on the product and packaging needs, Clemens said silica gel packets "do not contain more than five grams of silica gel," and it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Clemens added, this means that it is non-toxic, not absorbed or digested. More so, it passes through the gut and is successively eliminated.
Therefore, the expert advised, we should not be necessarily eating it, although if done accidentally, it's not something we should be alarmed about, as if we would die.
Fundamentally, what we consider as the scary label is "slapped onto the packets of silica gel," as it is regarded as a "choking ha hazard for small children," explained the NCPC.
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