Our friends at Better Life blogged about Borax today.Â I’ve since ran out, but I used to keep borax in the cupboard as a sink and toilet cleanser and even added it to cloth diaper washes before!Â This info on it’s harmful effects is all news to me and I’m thankful I now know!
First, is it safe? NO. It is actually listed as a poison, pesticide, and a fungicide. It is poisonous, especially to young children. Even as little as a teaspoonful could prove fatal if swallowed by a young child. For this reason, be very careful if using it anywhere near food and wipe up spills immediately.
From the National Institute of Health:
The infant death rate from boric acid poisonings is high. However, boric acid poisoning is considerably rarer than in the past because the substance is no longer used as a disinfectant in nurseries. It is also no longer commonly used in medical preparations.
Studies by the EPA have linked it to reproductive problems, kidney and liver problems, nervous system issues, and it is a skin and lung irritant. The other big issue with borax is that it accumulates in your body. So, the more you use it the more toxic it becomes to your body. Chronic exposure is especially harmful in children.
As far as green, borate is an open-pit mined mineral and borax is toxic to aquatic life. Environmental Working Group senior scientist Rebecca Sutton wrote a great article here.
Borax and its cousin, boric acid, may disrupt hormones and harm the male reproductive system. Men working in boric acid-producing factories have a greater risk of decreased sperm count and libido. According to EPA’s safety review of these pesticides, chronic exposure to high doses of borax or boric acid causes testicular atrophy in male mice, rats and dogs.
Animal studies reviewed by the EPA indicate that while the female reproductive system is less sensitive to borax, exposure to it can also lead to reduced ovulation and fertility. Borax and boric acid can cross the placenta, affecting fetal skeletal development and birth weight in animal studies of high-dose exposures.