What Happens When You Eat Silica Gel?

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Have you ever noticed small colorful beads in a tiny packet inside a medicine bottle or the box of shoe that you ordered online? Doesn’t it look intriguing so much so that you want to disobey the warning sign and the sign of skull head and crossbones made on the packet and fiddle with it?

Is it really dangerous though? What happens when you eat it? How dangerous is it?

Put a break to all the questions popping in your curious mind and read on to know everything.

Silica or silicon dioxide (SO2) is basically what quartz is made of. Silicon is never found isolated in nature. Therefore, it combines with oxygen to form silicon dioxide and SiO2 with other metals to form silicates. SiO2 is abundantly found in a solid state in nature.

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Why Is Silica Gel Used?


Since Silica gel is porous in nature, it can absorb 40% of its weight in moisture. It is used in packaging items to retain water content from the atmosphere. If there is moisture content in the packaged box, it will lead to the growth of mold and fungus inside. Hence, to reduce spoilage, silica gel is used. Also, it is non-deliquescent which means that it will not change its shape or size.

This is the main reason why it is used in the packaging of items like medicine, electronic items, water bottles, etc. Once its purpose has been fulfilled, silica can be reused by simply heating it to 300 degrees Fahrenheit so that it loses all its moisture.

How Dangerous Is Silica Gel?

cat litter silica gel

Silica is harmless to the packaging content i.e. it does not hamper its physical or chemical composition but how dangerous it is for a human body? If your curious mind is asking you – ‘what happens when you eat silica gel?’, please do not eat to satiate your inquisitive nature because it is not edible.

To answer your question, it is inert and harmless.

This is also why it is used in the packaging of food items and medicines.

What Happens You Eat Silica Gel?

Image Source: timesofindia.com

First of all, even if you did try to consume silica gel, it would be an unpleasant experience.

Secondly, since it is a desiccant, it will make your mouth instantly dry. Your tongue and upper roof of the mouth will lose all its moisture content as all the saliva would be absorbed by the gel.

If it made past your mouth, you will face a few serious side-effects like

  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mucous membranes and aggravated nasal cavity
  • A dry, irritated feeling in your throat.
  • An upset stomach or discomfort

Once it enters your system, it will desiccate your body since 70% of it is water. Though, it mainly depends on the amount of silica gel you consume. Since silica gel only absorbs 40% of its weight, you can do the math yourself of how many silica gel packets one should consume to absorb all the water from their body.

**CAUTION: Please do not conduct this experiment at home**

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What To Do If You Eat Silica Gel?

If someone accidentally consumes silica gel, it should be a cause of worry. It will come out of your body as it is. However, there will be a few side-effects to deal with until it passes through their body. It should anyway be kept away from children’s reach who may ingest them by mistake. Even adults should not try such foolish experiments.

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