Borax. Safe or Not?

HB Borax

Borax is another common ingredient you’ll see in DIY recipes.

Around our home, we use Borax sparingly because our research has shown that though it’s a naturally occurring mineral, it is not as safe as many of the other options we have. I encourage you to read through the research we did and then do some of your own. I will link to various sources at the bottom of this article to get you started.

Borax and Boric Acid are often confused. In this article, we are discussing Borax which is a salt of boric acid but not chemically identical to boric acid.

Borax is a white powdery mineral that is naturally occurring and goes by the names of sodium borate, sodium tetraborate or disodium tetraborate.

Just because a compound is naturally occurring doesn’t mean that it is safe for all uses. Borax has a few health concerns tied to it.

 

When using borax:

Avoid contact with eyes & skinFB Borax as it is a highly alkaline (ph 9.25) compound and may irritate

Avoid ingestion as it may disrupt the reproductive system, cause gastrointestinal upset and nausea at high levels.

Wear rubber gloves when cleaning with Borax and avoid spraying it in the air.

Never mix Borax with acids and never store borax with acids as it is strongly alkaline

 

A few facts:

Borax scores a moderate (5-6) Hazard according to The Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database (Borax: Not the green alternative it's cracked up to be)

 

Borax MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) lists Borax as a health hazard of 1 for the HMIS Rating. Read the full MSDS by clicking here.
(https://www.omsi.edu/sites/all/FTP/files/kids/Borax-msds.pdf)

 

The FDA banned Borax as a Food Additive

Animal studies have shown that sodium borate is harmful for the male reproductive systems. The MSDS for Borax will give you more information on this.

 

Our conclusion is that Borax isn’t so beneficial that is has an essential place in our home. We use it on occasion and mostly for outdoor jobs.

 

Here are a few ways we use borax on occasion:

Pest Control

Borax can be used to control various types of insects such as fleas, silverfish, beetles, cockroaches, ants and grain weevils. Its residual action is effective against newly hatched insects. Simply apply a thin dusting of powder outside where insects are a problem. When the insects walk on the dust it clings to them and is eventually ingested. You can also mix borax & honey or borax & sugar and make “bait” for pesky insects.

Gardening

Borax can be used for a variety of things in gardening. From fertilizer to weed control to ant repellant. Check out this article for tips. (Borax Amounts for Organic Gardening)

Laundry

We used to use Borax as a laundry booster but have since switched to baking soda as Borax in the laundry tends to irritate my skin. If we do use it to soak out an extra stubborn stain, we always run the clothes through a second time to make sure the solution is rinsed out and to avoid contact with our skin.

PIN borax

Post your comments about Borax in the comments section.

 

References:

Uses of 20 Mule Borax Powder for Pest Control
http://www.ehow.com/info_8431943_uses-borax-powder-pest-control.html

Borax Amounts for Organic Gardening
http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2011/02/borax-not-green-alternative-its-cracked-be

Borax: Not the green alternative it's cracked up to be
http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2011/02/borax-not-green-alternative-its-cracked-be

https://www.omsi.edu/sites/all/FTP/files/kids/Borax-msds.pdf

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