Boric Acid Vs. Borax?

Posted by Terri (Lincoln, MT) on 08/02/2007

Dear Ted; You stated "Boric acid is in fact much more toxic than borax."

Is boron the base of both boric acid and borax?

Over the past 3 months, I have taken a pinch of boric acid internally and have not found it toxic, to date.

I found the following information regarding boric acid: "Borax, also known as Boric Acid and is sold under the brand name "20 Mule Team, ..."

"Boric acid contains the elements boron, oxygen, and hydrogen (H3BO3). Boron is an essential micronutrient and is present in all foods... In nature, the element boron does not exist by itself. Boron is combined with other common elements, such as sodium to make salts like borax and oxygen to make boric acid.

Boric acid and other borates are increasingly being used in over-the-counter nutritional supplements as a source of boron. It is thought that boron has a potential therapeutic value in promoting bone and joint health as well as having a limiting effect on arthritis symptoms. ...

Borates are a fundamental part of daily living and boric acid is one of the most common and widely used borate compounds. Many of the uses listed above have been effectively used for centuries and many new uses are being found every day."

Another page says that "boric acid is generally not considered to be much more toxic than table salt (based on its LD50 rating of 2660)."

Here's another statement:

"Boron, the fifth chemical element, is a dietary trace mineral found primarily in plant foods. It is essential for plant growth. Recently it has been shown to be essential in an animal species (zebra fish), and evidence is mounting that boron is probably essential for humans, as well. The first edition of The Merck Manual (1899) credits boric acid, the most common form of boron, with being a useful treatment for amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, epilepsy and elevated uric acid. Boric acid has, in fact, proved to be ineffective for all of those disorders, but recent research supports the use of boron for the promotion of bone and joint health. There is less evidence that it may be helpful in enhancing mental cognition.

ADVERSE REACTIONS Doses up to 18 mg of boron daily appear to be safe for adults even if taken for prolonged periods of time. There is no evidence that boron is either carcinogenic or mutagenic. No adverse effects have been observed in either premenopausal or postmenopausal women using boron supplements.

OVERDOSAGE The lowest levels at which boron supplementation may be toxic have not been established. In 1904, human volunteers consuming greater than 500 mg of boric acid daily (this is equivalent to about 180 mg of elemental boron) showed symptoms of poor appetite and digestive problems. Symptoms of acute toxicity typically include nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. The symptoms of chronic toxicity include nausea, poor appetite and weight loss.

Boron is often sold in supplements that combine a variety of nutrients. For example, it is found in products for bone and joint health that often combine such nutrients as vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, soy isoflavones, chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, curcumin, boswellia, gelatin, ipriflavone, SAMe and others (see monographs on these substances). There's no evidence yet available that the therapeutic effects of boron are increased by such combinations."

I greatly appreciate your practical advise on this website and agree that we must all begin to think for ourselves. Trusted "experts" seem to mislead the most because they coat their lies with some truth. Experts are our grandparents and their home remedies consisting of those herbs and chemicals that were used around for centuries.

Thank you for your time.

Replied by Ted
Bangkok, Thailand
383 posts

Boric acid is more toxic than borax for two reasons: one it is acid, second it has more boron content. However, if we hold boron contents the same and neutralize the acidity, then boric acid is theoretically as safe as borax.

Unfortunately people make mistakes and therefore, I tend to favor borax. Boric acid is used in eye drop and eye cleaning solution so in low concentrations, boric acid is also safe for the eyes also.

Replied by Freethink
Lima, Peru

This is for Tom. At what ratio of baking soda to boric acid neutralizes acidity?