WHAT IS BORIC ACID?

ImageBoric acid, (Khmer: ម្សៅបូរាក់) can also be called boracic acid or orthoboric acid or acidum boricum. It is a weak acid often used as an antiseptic, insecticide, flame retardant, in nuclear power plants to control the fission rate of uranium, and as a precursor of other chemical compounds. It exists in the form of colorless crystals or a white powder and dissolves in water. It has the chemical formula H3BO3, sometimes written B(OH)3.

WHEN AND HOW DID IT COME ABOVE?

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Boric acid was first prepared by Wilhelm Homberg (1652–1715) from borax, by the action of mineral acids, and was given the name sal sedativum Hombergi (“sedative salt of Homberg”).

WHAT IS IT USED FOR?
However Borates, including boric acid, have been used since the time of the Greeks for cleaning, preserving food, and other activities. Boric acid was first registered in the US as an insecticide in 1948 for control of cockroaches, termites, fire ants, fleas, silverfish, and many other insects. It acts as a stomach poison affecting the insects’ metabolism, and the dry powder is abrasive to the insects’ exoskeleton.

Boric acid is generally considered to be safe to use in household kitchens to control cockroaches and ants. Homemade ant bait can be made by dissolving 1 teaspoon powdered boric acid and 10 teaspoons sugar into 2 cups (~ 500 mL) of water; this mixture can then be absorbed into cotton balls which are left near ant trails. This reportedly will be carried back into the ants’ nest, killing any ants that eat it, potentially destroying the entire colony.

Boric acid is also made into a paste or gel form as a powerful and effective insecticide much safer to humans than many other insecticides. The paste or gel has attractants in it to attract insects. The boric acid slowly causes dehydration.

In Cambodia is it widely used in the food product to preserve its look by preventing insect and septic. This is to be avoided.

NEGATIVE IMPACT ON HEALTH
Long term exposure to boric acid may be of more concern, causing kidney damage and eventually kidney failure (see links below). Although it does not appear to be carcinogenic, studies in dogs have reported testicular atrophy after exposure to 32 mg/kg bw/day for 90 days. Currently it has been categorized as: Highly Toxic

FURTHER HEALTH RISKS
Inhalation:
Causes irritation to the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. May be absorbed from the mucous membranes, and depending on the amount of exposure could result in the development of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, rash, headache, fall in body temperature, low blood pressure, renal injury, cyanosis, coma, and death.
Ingestion:
Symptoms parallel absorption via inhalation. Adult fatal dose reported at 5 to > 30 grams.
Skin Contact:
Causes skin irritation. Not significantly absorbed through the intact skin. Readily absorbed through damaged or burned skin. Symptoms of skin absorption parallel inhalation and ingestion.
Eye Contact:
Causes irritation, redness, and pain.
Chronic Exposure:
Prolonged absorption causes weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, convulsions and anemia. Liver and particularly the kidneys may be susceptible. Studies of dogs and rats have shown that infertility and damage to testes can result from acute or chronic ingestion of boric acid. Evidence of toxic effects on the human reproductive system is inadequate.
Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions:
Persons with pre-existing skin disorders or eye problems, or impaired liver, kidney or respiratory function may be more susceptible to the effects of the substance.

WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOU GET BORIC ACID?

Inhalation:
Remove to fresh air. If not breathing, give artificial respiration. If breathing is difficult, give oxygen. Call a physician.
Ingestion:
Induce vomiting immediately as directed by medical personnel. Never give anything by mouth to an unconscious person.
Skin Contact:
Remove any contaminated clothing. Wash skin with soap or mild detergent and water for at least 15 minutes. Get medical attention if irritation develops or persists. Wash clothing before re-use.
Eye Contact:
Immediately flush eyes with plenty of water for at least 15 minutes, lifting lower and upper eyelids occasionally. Get medical attention immediately.

Source—Mostly from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boric_acid
Partly From: http://www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/b3696.htm

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