Silica Gel as a Drying Desiccant
Silica gel packets are often found packed with shoes, clothing and even food products to protect against damage from high humidity. Silica gel is an odorless substance that naturally absorbs moisture. Water molecules stick to its surface, through a process called adsorption. Silica gels work best when in a sealed container, and the beads themselves are in a breathable bag. Because Silica gel is considered a desiccant, it does a great job in controlling moisture and keeping food fresh. Those small silica gel packets can hold about 30-40% of its weight in water. We often see the “do not eat” warning on the packaging because silica dust can irritate skin, eyes and the respiratory tract. Although silica gel is non-toxic and chemically un-reactive, if you use the the gel packets that change color when exposed to moisture, you may be exposing yourself to toxic chemicals. Although with a trained eye you can differentiate silica types, for the average person, there is often know way of knowing what type of silica packets you have in your procession. It’s best to discard the packets for your safe being. Besides, silica is designed to adsorb and you don’t known if the packets adsorbed something toxic or where it has been. For example, silica gel works well when drying and preserving flowers and foliage however, it also absorbs the pesticides from plants as they dry. The pesticide is what makes the silica toxic and dangerous. The bottomline, silica gel packets control moisture content in the closed container environment.