This white solid, also called boracic, or orthoboric, acid, is obtained
by treating a concentrated solution of borax with sulfuric or hydrochloric
acid. Boric acid is commonly used as a mild antiseptic for burns and
surface wounds and is a major ingredient in eye lotions. Among its other
important applications are its use as a fire-retardant in fabrics, in
solutions for electroplating nickel or for tanning leather, and as a
major constituent in catalysts for numerous organic chemical reactions.
Like Silicon, Boron forms large molecules in which oxygen atoms occupy
The repeating structure of Boric Acid
Insects die by ingesting boric acid and
borate salts. Borate salts are abrasive to the insect's exo-skeleton.
It is mostly used as a bait mixed with minced liver to treat Pharoahs
Ants, although these days juvenile hormone growth regulators tend to
be the norm.
Boric acid is very low in toxicity when
ingested. The acute oral LD50 in mice is
3450 mg/kg and for rats ranges from 2669 - 5140 mg/kg. The LC50
values for mice for inhaled boron compounds range from 0.89 - 21.1 mg/L
indicating very low to low inhalation toxicity. The proposed potential
lethal boric acid doses are 3-6 g for infants and 15-20 g for adults.
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