learning about clay

Why is there a warning sticker on Redmond Clay?

By | clay basics, learning about clay | 3 Comments

prop65If you spend much time in California, you’re probably used to seeing warning signs about Proposition 65. They’re on display at restaurants, banks, gas stations, grocery stores, even Disneyland. But why is there a proposition 65 warning on Redmond Clay?

What is Proposition 65?

In spirit, prop 65 is a great idea: California lawmakers decided the public needs to know if their water and food supply contains toxic chemicals. So they compiled a list of 800 substances and required any business using the substances proclaim the use publicly. (There’s more to it, of course, which you can get right from the source.)

So my bank, and Disneyland, are… toxic?

No. Well, maybe. The way prop 65 is enforced has created a defensive business strategy: infringements can cost businesses $2,500 per day, and nearly all cases are reported by citizens motivated to earn as much as 25% of that fee by “blowing the whistle,” as it were. These cases are handled in civil lawsuits, which are themselves quite expensive, with nearly all the award going to attorneys. Since there is no penalty for a business who warns customers about prop 65 chemicals even when none are in use, proposition 65 warning signs have become a hallmark of the California lifestyle.

So when you see a prop 65 warning sign, the business might be using toxic chemicals, or they simply might have decided it’s cheaper to hang a few signs than fight the civil lawsuits that these prop 65 law firms bring. It’s an unintended consequence of a law that has probably done a lot of good to protect California residents–while creating a new legal specialty and providing steady business for sign-makers across the state.

What about natural products?

The really interesting thing about proposition 65 is that many fruits and vegetables would be included in the ban as written by California legislators.  For example, carrots and green beans both contain more than twenty times the legal limit of arsenic, as defined by the proposition. (Other offenders include yams, apples, tomatoes, artichokes, cucumbers, lettuce, spinach and potatoes.) A compromise was reached to spare natural products from conforming to prop 65 standards: if a product is completely natural, businesses don’t have to report the otherwise banned substance.

But Redmond Clay is natural! So why the warning?

Peaches and pears–and Redmond Clay–contain the tiniest bit of natural (and harmless) lead, which is on the prop 65 list. Like other natural products, Redmond Clay falls under the exempted products definition, but we’re pretty cautious around here, and not terribly interested in defending civil action by prop 65 watchdogs hoping for a settlement or share of $2,500 daily fines. So we ordered some stickers.

We know the language on proposition 65 warnings is pretty heavy, but we wouldn’t sell Redmond Clay if we weren’t completely satisfied by its safety. Like so many other companies, we’ve decided it’s simpler to apply a prop 65 sticker to our products than worry about possible complications down the line. Fortunately, like so many other customers, you probably see so many prop 65 warning labels that you already understand our reasons. If you didn’t, we hope you do now!

Questions or concerns about proposition 65? Please get in touch!

Is it safe to store clay in plastic containers?

By | clay basics, learning about clay | One Comment

Last week, a customer wrote to ask us the best way to store hydrated Redmond Clay. Is it okay to store clay in plastic containers? It’s a question we hear often. Here’s the answer—along with a quick look at the reasons people ask.

Recycled Information

Most of what you’ve read about healing clays comes from a single source: A book called Our Earth, Our Cure by French naturopath Raymond Dextreit. Translated into English in 1974, the book is a gold mine of information about clay’s many uses—so good that each of the books (and, eventually, blog posts) about clay since then have borrowed heavily from Dextreit’s work.

Some books even copy entire pages verbatim, including the section when Dextreit talks about the best way to store clay. In this section (pictured below in two books, published 27 years apart) Dextreit suggests that hydrated clay shouldn’t be stored in plastic.

A fresh look at traditional answers

Much of what has been written about clay and plastic — even if the book was published just last decade, or the blog post was written just last year — is simply a restatement of what we knew in 1974. And let’s face it, plastic in 1974 was probably a bad idea! Some plastics today would be just as bad, which is why we need to be careful when mixing and storing our clay.

Not all plastics are created equal

Redmond Clay, dry or hydrated, can be stored safely in the right kind of plastic. Yep, we know it contradicts Dextreit’s 1970s advice, but plastics are much more stable than they were 38 years ago.

Redmond Clay approved plastic meets the following standards:

  • PET plastic, designated by the number 1: Used to store clay powder.
  • LDPE plastic, designated by the number 4: Used for our ready-to-use, pre-hydrated clay products. (Including Earthpaste.)
  • We use only “virgin” plastic. We love recycling, but for hydrated clay, we need to absolutely confident we know we’re getting just the right plastic. To be safe, we use only virgin, BPA-free plastic for our tubes. (Don’t worry, you can still recycle our tubes after you’re done!)

What about metal?

Dextreit’s original advice holds true: We don’t store clay in metal containers, and we don’t think you should, either.

What about the aluminum in Redmond Clay?

By | clay basics, learning about clay | One Comment

Aluminum is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, accounting for roughly 8% of our planet’s crust. Every plant and animal alive contains a trace amount of aluminum, which has been associated with healthy cellular function and metabolic processes. Of course, recent studies linking aluminum to mental degeneration has left a lot of people wondering whether the FDA will change the “generally recognized as safe” label that has been applied to aluminum-based food additives. In the mean time, many people have concerns about aluminum in products they use, from antiperspirant and makeup to pickles.

Two sides to aluminum

Like other metal elements, a tiny amount of aluminum is required to keep our body’s systems working properly—nickel for our heart, iron for blood, copper for nerves, and so on. The crucial distinction is the source and form of the elements: you could ingest aluminum in natural spring water, or you could force down a bit of aluminum foil. Your body can tell the difference, and won’t treat the sources of aluminum equally. It’s a silly example, maybe, but the basic idea is that our bodies recognize a chemical difference between heavy-metal aluminum, which could be absorbed by our system and potentially lead to health issues, and the naturally-occurring aluminum found in montmorillonite/bentonite clay.

Aluminum in bentonite clay

Unlike aluminum additives found in some products, experts agree that the natural aluminum in bentonite clay cannot be absorbed by our bodies. Once bound to silica, aluminum carries such a high negative charge it is actually central to the beneficial functions of clay—without it, the bentonite molecule that seems almost magical wouldn’t be able to do its job. (If we’re losing you, head over and learn how Redmond Clay works.)

Why aluminum is safe in clay

We wandered into some confusing territory there for a minute, so let’s regroup for those of you who like skipping to the end. Aluminum occurs naturally in our bodies, and in Redmond Clay. As with everything else we put in our bodies, the source and form of aluminum makes a big difference in how our bodies use it. The molecular structure of bentonite, especially the high negative charge of the aluminum silica particle, makes it impossible for the aluminum to leach into our systems. Instead, the aluminum leaves our bodies the old-fashioned way—along with the positively-charged toxins and impurities that the clay has bonded to. At a chemical level, much of clay’s healing benefit depends on aluminum.

In the mood for some light reading? Here are some resources about clay and aluminum:

Is Redmond Clay a Calcium Bentonite Clay?

By | clay basics, learning about clay | 8 Comments

In 2006, as more and more people were returning to natural remedies, Perry Arledge published a book discussing ways clay has been used for centuries for health and beauty. The book, called Living Clay, includes a list of questions consumers might ask while choosing the source for their clay—questions we hear often enough we thought we should put the answers online to make your research easier.

Is Redmond Clay a Calcium Bentonite Clay?

This is one of the most common questions people have after reading Living Clay. Is Redmond Clay a calcium bentonite clay?

Why might it matter?

Most clay deposits are high in either sodium (sodium bentonite clay) or calcium (calcium bentonite clay). Generally speaking, clays that are high in sodium and low in calcium are used for industrial applications—pond seal, drilling support, etc.—because these clays swell more than others. The calcium question was probably designed to be sure you choose a clay intended for human consumption, but before Living Clay was published, no clay experts had ever focused on the calcium / sodium distinction.

Why might it not matter?

Like most Redmond Clay customers, we trust clay because we’ve seen it improve our lives, and because we can look back throughout history to see ancient cultures using it. It’s hard to imagine a primitive healer inspecting a ball of medicinal clay and saying, “My goodness! This clay has more sodium than calcium! Spit it out!” It’s important to know the source of your clay, but focusing on calcium or sodium may not be as relevant as you may have read.

So, is Redmond Clay a calcium bentonite clay?

If you’ve read the post up to this point, you’re probably expecting the answer to be no, right? In fact, Redmond Clay comes from one of the most unique clay deposits discovered so far—rich in both calcium and sodium. The unique composition is one reason Redmond Clay works so well in so many ways—the sodium content helps make it more effective externally, while still sharing the benefits of using clay.

Redmond Clay is a unique living clay that is high in both calcium and sodium. Of course, natural products like clay don’t work the same for each person. Redmond Clay has helped tens of thousands of people, but it may not be the right clay for your body—finding the clay that works best for you is a personal journey.


Using Redmond Clay externally

By | clay basics, learning about clay | 31 Comments

Even after 50 years, we still hear new ways people use Redmond Clay. Here are some of the most common, and most helpful.

Clay as a Poultice

Hydrated Redmond Clay can be applied externally as a poultice on cuts, bruises, insect bites, bee stings, boils, rashes, achy joints, acne, and burns. To apply a clay poultice, place a thick layer (¼ to 1 inch thick) over the affected area. Redmond Clay has tremendous drawing power, so it should be washed off before it dries completely– especially when used on burns or sensitive areas such as the face. If the area can be wrapped with cheese cloth or plastic wrap, the clay can be left on overnight without drying out.

Redmond Clay Baths

To enjoy a full-body detox, add 1 to 2 cups of Redmond Clay to a tub of hot water and soak for 20-30 minutes. The remaining clay sediment can be safely washed down the drain. We have never seen it cause problems with the plumbing.

Foot Baths

Many people find that a foot bath with Redmond Clay also is a relaxing way to draw toxins out of the body. For a foot bath, add about 3 tablespoons of Redmond Clay to a pot of water that is as warm as you can stand. Soak your feet for about 30 minutes.

A brief history of Redmond Clay

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For years, we overlooked the value of our rare clay deposit. Here’s how we came to recognize what we had, and eventually brought it to the market.

For thousands of years, people have used clay to prevent and treat physical ailments. Members of primitive tribes carried balls of hydrated clay in their packs, adding it to their meals and using it whenever dysentery, food poisoning, and other sicknesses came upon them.

Over time, the practice of using clay was forgotten by most cultures, but it was still used in areas near natural clay deposits. One such deposit lies near Redmond, Utah, where farmers in the early 1930s used clay on their animals to treat abrasions, bruises, and infections. Using clay was a normal part of caring for livestock, and seemed to help reduce inflammation and draw out toxins so well that people eventually began using clay for their own scrapes, sprains, bites, and burns.

In 1975, a customer introduced us to a book called Our Earth Our Cure, in which homeopath Raymond Dextreit described the amazing healing properties of clay from France. Dextreit claimed that ingesting the right kind of clay would bring the body into natural balance, and made health claims so bold we dismissed them without much experimentation. We knew Redmond Clay was effective on burns, stings and infections, but the idea of eating it sounded strange, and the benefits he described seemed unlikely.

Later that year, a local health food store called to ask if Redmond Clay would bring the benefits Dextreit had described, and we didn’t have an answer for them. They were anxious to try it, so we had it analyzed by an independent lab who assured us it was harmless if ingested (the FDA would label it “generally recognized as safe”) and gave the health food store some clay to try.

When that group of customers told us Redmond Clay delivered on Dextreit’s claims, we were intrigued. The FDA told us it was “generally recognized as safe”, and in the decades since we’ve heard from thousands of customers who swear by the benefits of Redmond Clay. We’ve also learned a lot about its impact on our health, and we’ll try to share what we’ve learned with you.