About Living Clay®
for Selecting a Quality Clay - by Perry A~
In 1998, when I first googled
Bentonite Clays, I got 5,000 results. Today, in 2012, I get approximately
2 million results.
That’s quite a significant increase.
what can we attribute this increase?
With the growing realization of the dangers of traditional
medicines, the search for a natural and safe alternative has brought
man back to this healing element that has been used for thousands of
years by indigenous people around the globe.
With this rising popularity and
recognition of clays being safe, natural and inexpensive, clay
companies are popping up over night. This alternative to
prescription, side-effect-riddled medicine has everyone wanting to
get in on this opportunity to make money - and some actually care
about sharing this remarkable healing agent.
As with anything that grows too
fast, the lack of education and knowledge about clays can pose a
danger to society. Kitchens and garages become launch pads for home
grown businesses, and new domain names flood the Internet with eager
entrepreneurs in search of financial freedom. Common sense and
safety in handling are ignored in eagerness to capture a corner of
With these concerns in mind, it is
extremely important to know your clays, what the law requires, and
what the clay companies should provide in the way of service and
First, all clays are different,
making it complicated to understand the many differences in clay
families. For this article, let’s focus on the Smectite Family of
Clays known commonly as Bentonites. A unique trait of the Smectite
Family of clays is their greater adsorption capacity over other clay
families. Within the Smectite Family of clays, there exist
predominately Sodium and Calcium Bentonites.
Sodium Bentonites are naturally
high in salt – as high as 14%. They are the swelling or expanding
clays, taking on more water when hydrated. These have been used
primarily for industrial purposes (e.g., liner materials for
landfills, binders for iron ore processing, suspension agents in oil
well drilling, and water-proofing products for building materials).
In addition, all Calcium Bentonite
Clays are not the same! They differ in composition of minerals,
colors, textures, swelling capacity, taste, odor, grittiness and
purity. The major differences lie in proportion of the trace
minerals that make up clays. All clays contain from 60 – 70 trace
minerals, and most in parts per million (ppm) and in insignificant
amounts. The primary minerals determine the common names of many
clays, as does the location of their source.
Calcium Bentonites are more widely
known as healing clays for detoxing, cleansing, drawing our
impurities and are used in many products such as toothpaste,
antacids, and cosmetics.
Today, clays are carving a
significant niche in the natural health world. One of the major
problems is that industrial clays are not mined with attention to
purity and cleanliness. For industrial purposes, it is NOT important
for the clay to be clean and pure. For these purposes, clays are
dirt cheap (excuse the pun), as they are only scooped up, bagged,
and sold (and usually only sold by the tonnage or truck load).
The FDA has given all Bentonite
clays a certification as GRAS: Generally Regarded as Safe. This
refers to the exposure to clays during the milling process and for
external uses. This does not mean, by any stretch of the
imagination, that you can make health claims about clays LEGALLY. A
clay company selling clay cannot legally say it will stop the pain
of an insect bite, a Jellyfish sting, a tooth ache, clear up Acne,
accelerate wound healing, stop Acid Reflux, diarrhea, or detox heavy
metals until it has undergone one of the million dollar tests
performed to FDA specifications and gets the FDA’s approval. Since
Clays have been known to help 50 -100 ailments, you would need a
test for each ailment, and I think you can do the math on that one.
Basically, clay has positive effects on so many ailments that it
would take billions of dollars to get it approved for each and every
Clay companies making healing
claims are riding on the edge of serious trouble as clays become
more and more popular. It is only a matter of time before the FDA
rears its head and starts investigating the healing claims and shuts
them down and/or issues serious fines. Today, the FDA has other fish
to fry, so they have not messed with these up-and-coming clay
There are companies that sell clays
for internal use legally, but some have had to have their clay
processed to meet stringent requirements. When clays are processed,
whether by heat, sterilization or irradiation, the efficacy
(strength) of the clay has been greatly reduced.
So if you can’t make healing claims, what can a company legally
say about the clay they sell? They can legally say clay relieves,
detoxes (can’t say what), soothes, draws impurities (it is a known
fact that clay is used by the wine and beer industry for drawing out
impurities), stimulates, and a few other very safe generic terms
with no definitive meaning.
Anytime a good thing comes along,
there are those who recognize it as an opportunity to make money and
will jump in and take advantage by pushing the rules. The misuse of
the internet is a good example. More and more clays are pushing the
edge of truth. Some are copying information verbatim from other
sites and claiming it as their own.
One man claimed to be selling Dead
Sea mud that actually was Illinois dirt laced with cornstarch. This
is another interesting statement: “Vegetables are not attacked
by pests when grown with Brand X clay in the soil.” I would
say to them, “Show me some proof.” If you have a concern with a
statement made by a clay company, question it and ask for an
My greatest concern with the influx
of new clays is the lack of clay knowledge and the harm it will
bring to the good reputation of quality clays.
There are many confusing and
misleading statements to lure you to a particular clay. KNOW YOUR
CLAY. Do your due diligence by asking the company questions and for
a lab test as to the purity, cleanliness and an analysis of the
Criteria for selecting a quality
clay and a reliable clay source:
natural calcium Bentonite clay, pure and free of contaminants.
pH of 8.5 or above.
mineral analysis sheet.
Quality Control Lab report showing the clay falls within the
living clay, Montmorillonite/Calcium Bentonite, from the
Smectite family of clays.
green swelling clay that Absorbs and Adsorbs.
pure clay that it is odorless and tasteless.
all natural vs. processed clay.
packaging (no Ziploc bags or hand-written labels) with labels
showing directions and ingredients.
non-gritty clay milled to a 325 screen mesh.
clay that expands to a 3 to 1 ratio in volume (3 parts water to
1 part dry clay).
company that gives you direct contact information (a phone
number, physical address and an e-mail address).
company available to answer questions about their clay.
reliable company that has been in business for several years.
clay that does not stain material.
clay from a subsurface type mine protected from the elements.
clay direct from a source provider.
to ask for the proof and do your due diligence. Educate yourself and
use common sense. If you cannot speak to a person from that company,
considerate it a red flag.
go find your perfect clay!
Perry A~ is the author of Calcium
Bentonite Clay, Nature's Pathway to Healing and has been an ongoing student in the
study and research of Bentonite Clays since the early 1990s. It was
then she was first introduced to a green healing Calcium Bentonite
Clay that captured her fascination as to the amazing healing
potential of dirt. She has been an advocate for Bentonite clays ever
since. She is available for radio interviews, clay workshops,
presentations and to answer questions about clay. She can be reached
at 1-866-262-5611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
and we will answer promptly.