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Boric Acid

Low Risk

Also known as:

boracic acid borax hydrogen borate orthoboric acid sodium tetraborate decahydrate

Possible Symptoms
  • Unpleasant taste
  • Stomach irritation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Eye irritation
  • Throat irritation
What to Do
  1. Wipe or rinse out the mouth.
  2. Give a serving size of water to drink.
  3. Rinse any exposed skin with lukewarm water and soap.
  4. Call 1-800-222-1222 for additional instructions.
If Exposed to Eyes
  1. Start rinsing eye(s) with lukewarm water.
  2. Call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for further recommendations.

Additional Information

What is Boric Acid?

Boric acid has a multitude of uses and comes in a variety of forms. One of the most common uses is in ant and roach poisons made by companies like Terro®. Surprisingly, boric acid in dilute forms has medical use as a topical antifungal, eyewash, or astringent solution, as well as in lotions and mouthwashes.

Other Uses:

Because of its antifungal properties, many companies include it in vaginal suppositories. Other, more well-known, uses are in laundry products such as stain removers and some detergents. Borax can also be used in the making of slime which is popular amongst children. Learn more about it here: https://missouripoisoncenter.org/homemade-slime-safe-toxic/

Is Boric Acid Toxic?

Small amounts of boric acid or borax from an accidental taste or lick are unlikely to cause more than minor upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting. Absorption into the body through the skin is possible, but only if the skin is damaged such as through open wounds, burns, peeling skin, eczema, or similar skin problems. Dust particles from powdered borax can get into the air, land in the eyes, or get breathed in through the nose or throat. 

What to do if there is an exposure?

If you find someone has eaten a small amount of boric acid, do not panic. First wipe out the mouth with a soft, wet cloth, and give them some water to drink. Second, wash any hands or exposed skin with soap and water. If problems start or you have questions, call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center is open all day, every day, for poison emergencies and questions.

Take The Missouri Poison Center With You

Emergencies don’t wait for you, so you shouldn’t have to wait to call for help. Get the Missouri Poison Center app with poison information and a link to the Poison Help Line. It is just a click away during the most stressful moments. Our registered nurses and pharmacists are here 24/7/365 days a year to help guide you through poison exposures and overdose emergencies.

Don’t wait. Download now.

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