In barns and stalls, “foul-smelling gases latch on to dust particles that have a positive molecular charge. Zeolite molecules have a negative molecular charge, so they act like magnets to attract dust particles, thus helping clear the air of odors as well as dust” (Hill, 2012, p. 46). Trainers have found that placing an open-topped container of zeolite near stalls helps to absorb odors and dust in the air (Hill, 2012).
Because zeolite absorbs liquids, the minerals do not become slippery when wet, which is an important safety feature in any structure that contains wood floors or solid rubber mats (Hill, 2012). Zeolite’s absorption capabilities also create efficiencies when cleaning out stalls; it is not necessary to completely dry out facilities when using zeolite as the mineral absorbs moisture and odors upon contact. To control odors between cleanings, zeolite can be sprinkled on observed wet spots or excrement.
This is truly detoxifying mineral.
Zeolite is nontoxic to staff and horses; it does not cause harm if it is ingested, touches the skin, or comes into contact with the eyes (Hill 2012). The mineral is “nonflammable, environmentally friendly, and can be safely handled around water and feed with bare hands, which is especially nice for those who suffer from chemical sensitivity” (Hill, 2012, p. 46).
Over the past three decades, researchers have examined how natural zeolites can reduce ammonia levels in environments occupied by horses. Veterinarians have linked ammonia levels to equine respiratory diseases because of the stress it places on reparatory tracts and mucous membranes (Ullman et al., 2004).
Trap ammonium in the zeolite molecule, both internally as a dietary aid and environmentally around the facilities.
Ammonium (NH4+) in liquid and solid wastes is constantly undergoing conversion to ammonia gas (NH3). Zeolite controls odors and vapors by absorbing moisture from waste and adsorbing the ammonia produced by microbial activity on the liquids (Hogg, 2003).
Katayama et al. (1995) examined the extent to which the accumulation of atmospheric ammonia poses health risks to horses and contributes to equine respiratory disease. During the experimental period, researchers controlled the temperature (ranged from 9.7 to 15.4 Celsius) and the relative humidity (ranged from 82.6 – 96.4 percent) across three stalls. The ammonia concentration was 2-17 ppm in stall A, 40 – 130 ppm in stall B, and 0.2-1.9 ppm in stall C. The study found that the degree of damage in respiratory tract is associated with the concentration of ammonia, and that ammonia has a direct effect on the exposed cellular surfaces and cilia of the respiratory tract. The researchers concluded that ammonia is one of underlying factors linked to the onset of respiratory disorders, particularly in cases where horses are in transport vehicles for extended periods of time.