Borax has many commercial uses today. For example, it is an important additive for starch adhesives and sees use in many cleaning and detergent products. Other industries also use borax (like cosmetic, chemical, and pest control companies). It’s sometimes used to extract gold from minerals (instead of mercury). However, in most cases, liquid boric acid is better than powder and here are some reasons why.
What is Borax?
Also called sodium borate (from boron), Borax is a white powder made from soft crystals. It dissolves in water easily. By combining borax with a mineral acid like hydrochloric acid, you can make liquid boric acid, and it has many of the same properties as powdered borax.
Powdered Borax and Health Issues
Borax makes an effective insecticide, and you’ll see it in preparations to kill roaches and fleas. However, even though it has some toxicity, it’s not considered lethal to humans unless one ingested a very large amount. Borax can create a lot of dust, especially when used in commercial or industrial applications. This dust is an irritant when inhaled.
Inhaled borax dust irritates the respiratory tract. This can cause problems in people with allergies and can cause coughing and sneezing. Some people may develop skin irritation when exposed to borax dust. Prolonged exposure can cause other problems like headaches and sinus problems.
Borax carries health concerns for women of childbearing age. Exposure could have an effect on fertility and may cause damages to unborn children.
Solving the Problems Associated with Borax
One of the easiest ways to lower the health hazards associated with powdered borax is to turn it into liquid boric acid. In fact, it’s beneficial to the corrugated products industry because boric acid helps to improve the effectiveness and consistency of starch glues. This saves a lot of time and money.