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2D structural formula of Boric acid


What is it?

“Boric acid, also called hydrogen borate, boracic acid, orthoboric acid and acidum boricum, is a weak, monobasic Lewis acid of boron often used as an antiseptic, insecticide, flame retardant, neutron absorber, or precursor to other chemical compounds. It has the chemical formula H3BO3 (sometimes written B(OH)3).” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

This page refers to the ingredient boric acid (also called borax) and its sodium salts.

Boric acid is restricted for use in cosmetics in the European Union and Canada. The EU warns that the substance should not be used on peeled or irritated skin, or on children under 3 years of age.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identifies that the substance “may damage fertility and may damage the unborn child.” Boric acid is on their Candidate List of  “Substances of very High Concern.”

How is it used?

Boric acid is used as a buffering (stabilises the pH in products), denaturant (makes the cosmetics unpalatable) and antimicrobial agent in cosmetic products*. The substance is for instance found in oral products.

Apart from being an cosmetic ingredient, the substance also has a wide variety of other applications. It is for example used in the manufacture of LCD flat screens, as an antiseptic, in agriculture, in nuclear power plants and for killing insects such as cockroaches. The substance is also used by some to treat yeast infections and eye irritation.

We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.

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