What is Boron?

Boron (chemical formula: B), is an odourless black solid or brown powder/crystals. Boron is insoluble in water, alcohol and ether, but soluble in concentrated nitric and sulfuric acids.  Turkey is the largest producer of boron.

What is Boron used for?

Boron and its compounds, boric acid, borax and boric oxide, are used in many products, including:

  • Rocket propellant
  • Flares
  • In flame retardant 
  • Borosilicate glass
  • Neutron absorbers
  • Steel (to increase hardness)
  • Copper (to degas)
  • Aluminum (to refine the grain)
  • Semiconductors
  • Fibreglass
  • Eye drops
  • Laundry detergents
  • Antiseptics
  • Insecticides
  • Magnets
Boric acid is used in the manufacture of borosilicate glass to produce a tough and heat resistant glass
Boric acid is used in the manufacture of borosilicate glass to produce a tough and heat resistant glass

Boron Hazards

The routes of exposure for boron include inhalation, ingestion and skin and eye contact. 

Inhalation of boron can cause respiratory irritation—individuals with already compromised respiratory function (conditions such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis) and circulatory/nervous system damage, may suffer further disability upon inhalation. Symptoms of inhalation can include a dry mouth/nose/throat, a dry cough, nose bleeds, sore throat, shortness of breath, chest tightness, difficulty breathing, sudden thirst, a sweet or foul taste in the mouth, tiredness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, fever or chills, sweating, diarrhoea and excessive urination. 

Ingestion of boron may be harmful, with animal experiments indicating 150g to be the expected lethal dose. Symptoms of ingestion can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain and blood in the feces. 

Skin contact with boron can cause inflammation and burns. Other harmful effects may result upon entry into the bloodstream through open cuts or wounds.

Direct eye contact will cause severe eye damage in the form of thermal burns.

Boron Safety

If inhaled, remove the patient from the contaminated area to the nearest fresh air source and lay the patient down, ensuring they are warm and rested. If the patient is not breathing and you are qualified to do so, perform CPR, preferably with a bag-valve mask device. Seek urgent medical attention. 

If swallowed, do not induce vomiting. If vomiting does occur, lean the patient forward or place them on their left side to maintain open airways and prevent aspiration. Give them water to rinse their mouth out and provide as much as they can comfortably drink. Seek medical attention. 

If skin exposure occurs, remove all contaminated clothing/footwear and cleanse the affected skin and hair with plenty of soap and water. Seek medical attention in the event of irritation. If burns occur, do not pull away clothing that has become stuck to the skin, do not break the blister and do not apply any ointments or oils to the burn. 

If the chemical is exposed to the eyes, flush the eyes out immediately with fresh running water, remembering to wash under the eyelids. Removal of contact lenses should only be done by a skilled individual. Do not attempt to remove any particles attached to or embedded in the eye. Seek urgent medical attention.

Boron Safety Handling

Emergency eyewash fountains should be accessible in the immediate area of the potential exposure to the chemical and adequate ventilation should be available (local exhaust should be installed if necessary).

The PPE recommended when handling boron includes safety glasses with side shields, chemical goggles, positive flow respirators, leather gloves, overalls, full body protective suits and safety footwear. Skin cleansing and barrier creams are also recommended in the event of skin exposure. 

Always refer to the SDS to ensure you have the proper knowledge to safely handle boron. If you require SDS Management Software, click here for a FREE trial or contact us at to see how we can help.