The effect of the particles' color on the intensity of the scattered light they create is generally overestimated. For example, people are often skeptical of the idea that even black particles will scatter light. It is an undisputed fact, however, that elementary carbon in various forms (soot, graphite, coal) produces scattered light of the same order of magnitude as white diatomaceous earth (SiO2). Dust measurement
The following Figure compares the scatter intensities of soot and white products of various particle size in air and water.
Laboratory tests conducted by Sigrist have demonstrated that the following quantities of carbon of various particle size in water produce the same amount of scattered light as 10 mg/l of diatomaceous earth (SiO2):
These figures, which are approximate, reflect the heavy dependence of scatter on particle size.