What You Should Know

Borax is quite popular online these days. It's in recipes for everything from children's craft concoctions to alternative cleaning products and homemade baby wipe solutions. Before you use it, though, make sure you know all the facts.

Borax, which is also known as Boric Acid and is sold under the brand name "20 Mule Team," is often touted as safe and natural. While it is a naturally occurring mineral, that doesn't mean it is without dangers.

Borax is often recommended as a "safe" pesticide, fungicide and cleaner, but it is officially classified as a poison. Government sites recommend that people who work with Borax use gloves and handle it with caution. Studies have linked it to reproductive problems in some lab animals, as well as a host of serious disorders at higher levels.

Boric acid is an acute eye and respiratory tract irritant, which is quite toxic if ingested. In addition, it is unavailable in parts of Europe because of concerns that it caused birth defects and problems with the reproductive organs of children. It is recommended that pregnant women and children in particular do not have exposure to Borax.

Here are some medical and U.S. government fact sheets about its toxicity:

Also, It might be helpful to look at 20 Mule Team's MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet), which they are required to provide. You can view it here.

Note that they specifically say:
"Nonetheless, the following effects have been reported for a component, sodium borate, and boric acid. Sodium borate upon entry into the body becomes boric acid."

Also refer to section 3 (on page 2) where the company itself says:
Based on our hazard evaluation, the following chemical substance(s) in this product have been identified as hazardous.
Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate

The health and safety warnings are also listed on the MSDS. Everybody can make their own decisions. I simply think it's a bad idea to make craft concoctions for small children to handle (and possibly stick in their mouths) considering all of the health risks.

It's important to remember that many products that we use around the house are just as harmful. However, most of them aren't included in recipes we give to toddlers!

Yes, we like goop as much as the next folks. After reading about the risks, though, we decided to make some nice scented play dough instead.

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All works on this site Alicia Bayer unless otherwise noted.
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