Borax is not absolutely safe
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Borax is not absolutely safe

Posted By Lillian Tong     Apr 4    


Borax is a natural mineral with the chemical formula Na2B4O7 • 10H2O. Borax is also called sodium borate, sodium tetraboric acid or disodium tetraboric acid. It is one of the most important boron compounds. The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) named borax tetraboric acid decahydrate.

The common use of the term 'borax' refers to a group of related compounds distinguished by their water content:

Anhydrous borax or tetraboric acid (Na2B4O7)
Borax pentahydrate (Na2B4O7 · 5H2O)
Borax decahydrate (Na2B4O7 · 10H2O)

Borax and boric acid

Borax and boric acid are two related boron compounds. Natural minerals extracted from underground or collected from evaporated sediment are called borax. When borax is processed, the purified chemical obtained is boric acid (H3BO3). Borax is a salt of boric acid. Although there are some differences between these two compounds, both types of chemicals are suitable for controlling pests or mucus.

Where to buy borax

Borax is present in laundry aids, hand soap, and certain toothpaste. You can also find it in the following products:

20 mule team borax (pure borax)
Soap powder
Tooth bleaching formula (check the label for borax or tetraboric acid)

Borax usage

Borax itself has many uses, and it is an ingredient in other products. Here are some uses of borax powder and pure borax in water:
Insecticides, especially in cockroach killing products and moth prevention (10% solution on wool)
Laundry booster
Home cleaning
Water softener
Food additives as preservatives (prohibited in some countries)

Borax is a component of several other products, including:

Buffering solutions
Flame retardants
Tooth bleaching products
Glass, ceramics, and pottery
Enamel glaze
A precursor of boric acid
Scientific projects such as green fire, mucus, and borax crystals
analytical chemistry borax bead test
Welding flux for steel welding

How safe is borax?

The normal form of sodium tetraboric acid decahydrate borax is not acute toxic, which means that a large amount of borax needs to be inhaled or ingested to have an impact on health. As far as pesticides are concerned, they are one of the safest chemicals. In 2006, the US Environmental Protection Agency assessed the chemical and found that there were no signs of toxicity or evidence of cytotoxicity to the human body when exposed to it. Unlike many salts, skin contact with borax does not cause skin irritation.

However, this does not mean that borax is absolutely safe. The most common problem with dust exposure is that inhaling dust can cause respiratory irritation, especially in children. Ingestion of large amounts of borax can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The European Union (EU), Canada, and Indonesia believe that exposure to borax and boric acid is a potential health risk, mainly because people come into contact with borax and boric acid from multiple sources in their diet and environment. People are concerned that excessive exposure to a chemical commonly considered safe may increase the risk of cancer and damage fertility. Although the research results may be contradictory, it is recommended that children and pregnant women limit their exposure to borax whenever possible.