Agent Name

Sodium borate, decahydrate

CAS Number

1303-96-4

Formula

B4-O7.2Na.10H2-O

Major Category

Metals

Synonyms

Borax; Borax decahydrate; Sodium borate decahydrate; Sodium tetraborate decahydrate; [NIOSH]

Category

Metalloid Compounds (Boron)

Description

White, odorless, crystalline solid; Becomes anhydrous at 608 degrees F; [NIOSH]

Sources/Uses

Used as a preservative, antiseptic and fungicide; also used to manufacture glazes, enamels, soldering fluxes and cleaning compounds and to fireproof textiles and wood; [ACGIH] Boric acid and borates as tablets or powder are used to kill larvae in barns and other insects in houses. Rarely, they are sprayed as herbicides. [EPA: Recognition of Pesticide Poisonings] Used in photo developing bath; [www.ci.tucson.az.us/arthazards/medium.html] Borax (borax decahydrate) is found naturally in some salt lakes and alkaline soils. Boric acid is formed by crystallizing a solution of hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid and borax. [Hawley]

Comments

The basis for the TLV for inorganic borate compounds is irritation of the nose and respiratory tract. Studies of workers exposed to sodium borate dusts found no evidence of pulmonary function or reproductive impairment. [ACGIH] Repeated skin exposure may cause dermatitis; Toxic by ingestion with effects on the liver, kidneys, and CNS; [ICSC]

Exposure Assessment
Skin Designation (ACGIH)

Insufficient data

TLV (ACGIH)

2 mg/m3, inhalable fraction

STEL (ACGIH)

6 mg/m3, inhalable fraction

MAK

0.75 mg/m3, inhalable fraction, as B (no reason to fear damage to embryo or fetus)

Explanatory Notes

TLV is for "Borate compounds, inorganic" for "all forms of sodium borate and boric acid." [ACGIH]

Adverse Effects
Hepatotoxin

Hepatotoxin, Secondary

Reproductive Toxin

Yes

ACGIH Carcinogen

Not Classifiable

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Processes

Industrial Processes with risk of exposure: