The safety of Borax - also known as sodium borate - has been hotly debated the last few years. It is a naturally occurring mineral salt, and while it should not be ingested and kept away from children and pets, it was considered only a external / eye irritant by the FDA and Health Canada, safe enough to use in many projects around the home. Even David Suzuki recommended it as a cleaner.
A new draft risk assessment is available now, and Health Canada has issued an informational update recommending that Canadians limit their exposure to borax and boric acid whenever possible as it may cause developmental and reproductive side effects. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or nursing and young children.
Boric acid is found naturally in our food and water - and that's okay. As with many potentially harmful substances, toxicity is determined by the dose. The concern is that people may get multiple exposures to boron and boric acid due to its presence in many products and its ability to remain in the environment for a long time.
Health Canada advises that people stop using Borax to create homemade pesticides, detergents, and craft projects for kids like homemade slime and modeling clay immediately to reduce the amount of exposure. You should check the ingredients of storebought pesticides and detergents for:
Health Canada has a pesticide label search mobile app with the most recent product information and label instructions. Make sure you dispose of any products according to manufacturer's directions.
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