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Not only is bentonite the clay of 1,000 uses it also comes in many colors. 

Bentonite clay has been on the FDA's GRAS list (Generally Recognized as Safe) for many years.

"[Code of Federal Regulations] [Title 21, Volume 3] [Revised as of April 1, 2017] [CITE: 21CFR184.1155]


Subpart B--Listing of Specific Substances Affirmed as GRAS

Sec. 184.1155 Bentonite. (a) Bentonite (Al2O34SiO2nH2O, CAS Reg. No. 1302-78-9) is principally a colloidal hydrated aluminum silicate. Bentonite contains varying quantities of iron, alkalies, and alkaline earths in the commercial products. Depending on the cations present, natural deposits of bentonite range in color from white to gray, yellow, green, or blue. Bentonite's fine particles provide large total surface area and, hence, pronounced adsorptive capability.

(b) The ingredient must be of a purity suitable for its intended use.

(c) In accordance with 184.1(b)(1), the ingredient is used in food with no limitation other than current good manufacturing practice. The affirmation of this ingredient as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) as a direct human food ingredient is based upon the following current good manufacturing practice conditions of use:

(1) The ingredient is used as a processing aid as defined in 170.3(o)(24) of this chapter.

(2) The ingredient is used in food at levels not to exceed current good manufacturing practice. Current good manufacturing practice results in no significant residue in foods.

(d) Prior sanctions for this ingredient different from the uses established in this section do not exist or have been waived.

[47 FR 43367, Oct. 1, 1982, as amended at 73 FR 8606, Feb. 14, 2008; 76 FR 59249, Sept. 26, 2011] "

---------------- WARNING: For all those that have koi or garden ponds do not use just any bentonite clay in your water. This page list many of the uses of bentonite and not all sources are created equal. So please do not put any of the sodium bentonite (swelling bentonite), kitty litter or oil dry products in your ponds. Point in fact; at the turn of the century a man in Malaysia used kitty litter in his koi pond. The next morning he discovered his pump had stopped and all his koi were dead. The kitty litter had gotten into the pump, swelled and caused it to seize up.


Bentonite clay was formed by the alteration of minute glass particles derived from volcanic ash. Bentonite occurs in rocks that were deposited in the Ordovician to Neogene periods (about 2.6 million years ago).

Bentonite was first named taylorite, after William Taylor, who studied clay deposits in the United States. The use of the name taylorite stopped when this class of minerals was split up into separate groupings. In 1898, W C Knight used the name bentonite to refer to this specific type of clay because the first site discovered was near Fort Benton in the Wyoming / Montana region of the United States. Bentonite clay is an aluminum phyllosilicate, which consists mostly of the mineral montmorillonite (montmorillonite is a very soft phyllosilicate group of minerals that form when they precipitate from a water solution as microscopic crystals, known as clay. It is named after Montmorillon in France).

Bentonite is part of the smectite class of clays. Smectites are clay minerals which are approximately less than 2 micrometers in dimension. Although they are rare in large quantities, smectites are common in most earth surface sediments. The formation of large deposits of smectite (i.e., bentonite) requires rather special geologic conditions.

Bentonite is a material derived from the alteration, over geological time periods, of glassy material emitted from volcanoes (tuff or ash), or from the alteration of silica bearing rocks such as granite and basalt. Bentonite only forms in the presence of water. Depending on the nature of formation, bentonite can have a variety of accessory minerals in addition to its constituent mineral montmorillonite. These minerals may include attapulgite, kaolin, mica, and Illite as well as minerals like quartz, feldspar, calcite and gypsum. The presence of these minerals may affect the value of a deposit.

There are two types of bentonite; calcium bentonite (non-swelling) and sodium bentonite (swelling). The uses of each are dependent upon specific physical properties.


Medications, toxic waste cleanup, water purification systems, animal feed, toothpaste, clarifying agent for (wine, vinegar, fruit juice, beer, oils), cosmetics, pet litter, drilling fluid, foundry iron, ore pelletizing, sealants (reservoirs and landfills), crayons, absorbent, molding sand binder, shoe polish, used in cements and concrete, ceramics, insecticides, soaps, paints, water softener, and many more.


United States, Japan, France, Greece, Italy, Brazil, Romania, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, India, Morocco, Hungary, Poland, Canada, Turkey, Cyprus