Yes, hematite is toxic. But that doesn’t mean it is dangerous to you.
Confused? In this article that follows, we’ll explain.
Why is Hematite Toxic?
Let’s start with what it means for a substance to be toxic.
In general, around here we accept that a material, element, compound, or substance is toxic if consuming it or otherwise taking it into your body would cause serious physical harm or even death.
Next, let’s look at what hematite is.
Hematite is an iron oxide, meaning it contains iron and oxygen that are chemically bonded together.
It can be found in many colors, from grey to black to even red or reddish brown.
It is the iron in hematite that is the reason why hematite would be considered toxic.
If humans consume or otherwise take in too much iron, serious physical symptoms can result.
Someone who takes in too much iron can struggle with pain, damage to their organs, and even die. (source)
Since too much iron can cause serious physical injury or death, we are of the opinion that hematite is toxic.
If You Think Hematite is Toxic, Why Don’t You Think It Is Dangerous?
In general, like with most rocks and minerals containing pretty toxic substances (metals, asbestos, arsenic, etc), it is pretty hard to get the iron in the hematite out of the rock and into your body.
And even if you were to absorb trace amounts of the iron from handling the stone through your skin, it is unlikely that you would take in enough iron to cause the serious physical injury or death that we disclosed above.
Iron is a substance that is necessary for human life.
We have to consume or take in at least a certain amount of iron regularly for our bodies to function.
The trouble for us is when we take in too little, or too much.
The iron in hematite has to find a way in to your body to cause you trouble, and in amounts that are sufficient to actually cause the toxic symptoms.
In most cases, regular handling, wearing hematite as jewelry, or even putting a whole stone in the water that you are planning on drinking would result in you consuming enough iron to hurt you.
Could Hematite be Dangerous?
Sure, hematite could absolutely be dangerous.
Certainly, you’ll be hurt physically if you drop it on your fingers or toes. (LOL)
But jokes aside, there are some dangerous practices we are seeing around the internet that involve grinding up minerals and putting them in food or water to consume.
If you were to take a quarter size piece of hematite stone and swallowed it, you’d probably experience some stomach cramping as it moved through your system, and within a reasonable amount of time, you’d get the stone back.
Your body would absorb little, if any, of the iron from the stone.
If you were to grind up that some stone into a powder, put it in water, and drink it, things are different.
When the stone is in teeny tiny particles, there are many chances for the pieces to find places to hang out in your body, tucked into a fold or crook of the twisty and turny tubes of your intestines.
This would give your stomach acid more time to work on the surface area of the stone, in an attempt to dissolve the material so it could be absorbed into the body/bloodstream.
If you were to do this regularly, it is entirely possible that you could take in too much iron and start to experience iron toxicity symptoms.
Another way that hematite could be dangerous is by failing to take precautions against breathing in hematite dust.
Hematite dust/particulate is usually created when someone is mining, cutting, grinding, or polishing hematite.
Those little particles created by the friction/action end up floating into the air, and get sucked in by someone doing the work.
In the case of someone who is consistently and frequently breathing in this iron bearing dust, the amount of iron consumed can produce iron toxicity.
Not to mention the respiratory problems that result from breathing in dust in significant amounts of long periods of time.
How Do I Keep Myself Safe From Hematite?
The primary things we recommend doing when you are working with hematite are the following:
Protective Gear. If you are working with raw hematite, is generally best to wear gloves and boots to avoid causing yourself physical damage.
If you are doing anything which creates hematite dust, wear a mask and goggles to keep the particles out of your body.
Don’t Purposefully Consume It. Consuming hematite in some sort of concoction or elixir is asking for trouble.
You won’t be able to measure or otherwise gauge how much iron you’ve actually consumed, and you won’t have any idea how much of the iron your body actually absorbs.
If you were to go to the doctor with iron toxicity symptoms, you’d have no way to know or explain to the doctor how much you’d consumed.
If you are in need of additional iron in your diet, we’d recommend that you stick with iron supplements or food, because then you could track more easily the amount of iron you were adding to your diet.
Can Hematite Go In Water?
Yes, hematite can go in water.
However, we don’t recommend that you put hematite in water for extended periods.
Long water baths can cause damage to the material.
Water baths encourage the formation of cracks or breakage, and can also damage the beautiful finish applied to the stone.
In some cases, water baths can change the surface appearance of the stone.
In general, even though a material like hematite can go in water, we recommend that you use water briefly in cleaning and allow it to dry thoroughly.
Interested in learning more about the rocks and minerals in our world? Check out our blog for our latest articles.