The short answer is yes, cavansite is toxic. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it is dangerous.
Knowing and understanding the composition and characteristics of your minerals is more than a nerdy hobby; it is a critical component of handling these materials.
In this article, we’ll explain how and why cavansite is considered toxic, and what you need to know to keep yourself safe when handling this material.
First, understand what it means to be toxic in the frame of this article.
Toxic may mean different things depending on where you look or where your information comes from. In this article, we take “toxic” to mean a material that is capable of causing serious injury or death if the material is ingested, breathed, or otherwise taken into the body.
Toxic doesn’t mean that it will cause serious injury or death, only that it is capable of it.
If you are thinking through the logic of that statement, you might think that our understanding is overbroad, and would include water and other foods that people consume in abundance.
In our world, just about anything can harm you if you don’t take care.
The term “toxic” is a buzz word, what you might find in a clickbait headline. But given that it is such a broad term, you’ll want to look beyond it to what really matters, as we discuss below.
Understanding the Makeup of Cavansite
To understand why cavansite can be both toxic but not that dangerous, we start with understanding what cavansite is. Most familiar names of minerals or crystals (malachite, selenite, tiger eye, bumblebee jasper, etc) don’t give you many (or any) clues as to what the stone is.
Cavansite is like that.
Let’s start with the chemical formula for cavansite, aka calcium vanadium silicate, which is Ca(VO)Si4O10·4(H2O). This jumble of letters and numbers means that cavansite is made up of: Calcium, Vanadium, Silicon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen.
At first glance, two elements stick out right away: vanadium (a metal) and silicon.
Vanadium in Cavansite
Vanadium is not a well known metal, but those who know of it know that it is harmful to humans if too much of it gets into the body. There’s a slew of regulations about limits of vanadium exposure.
In general, this is a material that primarily impacts the respiratory system (when breathed or inhaled), and does not seem to be as dramatic when it is ingested.
But as far as toxicity, it certainly meets our qualifications. It is capable of causing serious injury or death to humans.
Silicon in Cavansite
Silicon is considered by some to be “non-toxic,” yet by our definition, it still qualifies. Silicon is a material that is definitely capable of causing serious injury or death.
Yet, most people don’t think of it in terms of being toxic because it is chemically stable and frequently used in products around the world.
The FDA warns against putting liquid silicone as an injectable product, as it may block major blood vessels
Breathing silicon particulate can lead to silicosis, which is an incurable lung disease.
Thus, as far as toxicity, silicon also meets our qualifications. It is capable of causing serious injury or death.
Cavansite is Toxic, But Is Cavasite Dangerous?
The thing about handling minerals and crystals is that most of them are made up of some chemical or element that would harm us humans if we were to eat it or breathe it.
But in most cases, the element is trapped or bound up along with other elements in a solid shape.
It does not easily escape that bondage and get into our system.
And if does manage to get into the human system (through consumption or breathing), in most cases the amount taken in is not significant enough to cause any sort of effect, immediate or otherwise.
For most people, the toxic effects of a mineral like cavansite (or others) is the result of repeated and long-term exposure. And when we say “exposure” we don’t mean like holding the material in the hand.
We mean more like breathing in the dust from mining the material, or cutting/polishing the pieces.
To compare, let’s talk about quartz. Quartz is one of the most well-known minerals used in jewelry, decoration, and even in the metaphysical healing arts.
Very few people talk about the toxicity of quartz, or whether it is dangerous. They just wrap their crystals in wire and throw it around their neck as a pendant.
Yet quart is composed primarily of silicon, a substance which is definitely able to cause humans serious injury or death.
But that silicon rarely leaves the solid form for the human body, which is why people do not consider it to be dangerous to wear or handle.
Toxicity is the Wrong Question
In general with minerals and crystals, the question is not “is the material toxic.” Instead, the question should be, “will this material harm me if I_____________.” Then insert frequent interactions with minerals like:
- touch it with my skin
- display it in my house
- wear it in earrings
- wearing it as a necklace or bracelet
- sleep with it
- get it wet
- clean it with products
- put it in acid
- seal it
- put it in my bathtub with me
- put it in my water bottle
- grind it up and use it in makeup
- grind it up and put it in food/drink
- grind/cut/polish it
For most minerals, whether they meet the qualifications for “toxicity,” you’ll be wanting to confirm that your specific activity with the mineral is okay and safe. With minerals, it is just better to assume that they all meet the qualifications for toxicity and move on to the step where you learn about safe handling.
What is Recommended With Cavansite (and not)
In general, we recommend against grinding up cavansite and other minerals to consume them or drink them.
While silicon and vanadium seem to be the most troublesome when breathed in, we still don’t think that there is any research out there which is willing to confirm that consuming either of these materials purposefully is 100% safe and harmless.
Cavansite is not a very hard material, rating a 3-4 on the Moh’s hardness scale. Because it is a softer material, we don’t recommend that you submerge it in water for any significant period of time or in other solutions (like water and salt).
Because cavansite is brittle and soft, water is likely to climb up into microscopic cracks and widen them, causing larger cracks or even breakage of the material into small pieces.
We take the position that it is safe to handle with your hands, and to use. But as with all minerals, you should wear a mask and goggles when you work with the stone (grinding or cutting) to avoid ingestion or inhalation of the particulate.
At this point, cavansite is still a relatively new material, and occurs rarely. Because most pieces of this material out there are in the hands of mineral collectors, there isn’t a lot of data yet resulting from long term use or wear of this material.
Want to learn more about rare minerals like cavansite? Check out our blog for our latest articles.