information - woodworm treatment products
Boron Powder in water Woodworm Treatment - technical and safety information
What are Borates
Borates have been used as
Wood Preservatives for over 50 years. Boron-containing wood preservatives
are all derived from naturally occurring borate minerals. Boron does
not occur in nature in its elemental form, but as oxygen-containing
compounds such as boric acid, or borates such as Borax. The mineral
tincal (Borax) is the most significant source of commercially used borate.
There are major deposits in both the USA and Turkey and other forms
of borate are found in South America, China and Russia.
Boron is widely distributed
in plant and animal tissues and is known to be essential for plant growth.
The daily intake for humans varies from 0.5 to 3.1 mg from all natural
food and water sources.
levels of boron (boron in mg/kg)
Soil - 10 to 20 mg
Plants - 5 to 100 mg
Fresh Water - 0.03 to 3 mg
Sea Water - 5 mg
Borates in Woodworm
Borates are a paradox in
character as they are both essential micronutrients for plants, and
probably animals, but at the same time possess 'biostatic' activity
which has allowed their continued use and development in wood preservation
over the last 50 years. Approximately 5,000 tonnes of borate products
are used in wood preservatives split roughly into three categories:-
i) decorative timber treatments
and construction in the Asia Pacific area
ii) formulation of exterior
and remedial wood preservatives in Europe
iii) in construction, wood
composites and pest control in North America
Borates in other
It should be remembered that
borates are used in hundreds of products and processes throughout the
world. The principle industries that utilise borate products are glass,
detergents, agriculture, vitreous enamels and ceramic glazes and there
is even a borate which helped you get here today - there is borate in
your antifreeze and elsewhere in a motor vehicle!
The inorganic borates ores
are mined and refined into a wide variety of usable compounds. In the
wood preservation industry the principle compounds are Polybor or Disodium
octaborate tetrahydrate (Na2B8013.4H20) and some use of Boric acid (H3B03)
and Boric oxide (B203).
Borates in the
Borates are non-volatile.
As a dust borates rapidly settle from the atmosphere.
Borates in Water
Borates are naturally occurring
minerals and are present in surface and underground waters. Borates
are rapidly dissolved in water and will disperse with dilution. Removal
at low concentrations is unnecessary and not considered hazardous to
Ingestion: Swallowing small
quantities (one teaspoon) will cause no harm to healthy adults. If larger
amounts are swallowed, give two glasses of water to drink and seek medical
Avoid creation of dust. Use
vacuum cleaners wherever possible. If symptoms such as nose or throat
irritation are observed, remove to fresh air.
No treatment necessary because
it is non-irritating.
Storage of Borates
No special handling precautions
are required, but dry indoor storage is recommended. Good housekeeping
procedures should be followed to minimise dust generation and accumulation.
No specific fire fighting measures are required since Disodium octaborate
tetrahydrate is not flammable, combustible or explosive. The product
is itself a flame retardant.
Source of Data
in this section
European Directive 98/8/EC
concerning the placing biocidal products on the market, produced by
the Technical Committee of the Netherlands.
AND BIOCIDE SAFETY
Use wood preservatives and
biocides safely. Always read the label and product information Data
Sheet before use.
Wear the correct safety equipment
and keep unprotected people and animals out of the treated area for
the statutory period given on the label.
All products have some hazards
and the COSHH Regulations (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health)
apply to ALL building repair and construction products that we sell,
If in doubt consult us for
free technical help. Take care not to contaminate soil, waterways or
the environment with the product or the waste and packaging. These can
be returned to us for disposal.
Avoid using any type of chemical
in your home if any of the following are likely to come into contact
with treated surfaces: babies, young children, asthmatics, pregnant
women or those vulnerable due to ill health.
BORON RECLASSIFICATION - ongoing action by
Rio Tinto Borax
Rio Tinto, manufacturers
of Borax Products, is currently appealing against the European reclassification
of some Borates. We will advise you when we have a definitive ruling
for the UK from the UK Authority, the HSE. Most of our Products will
In the meantime a warning
label will indicate a hazard to your reproductive capabilities if you
should eat a significant quantity of high concentration Borate powder
for a long period, an unlikely risk in our Industry. To be at risk you
might need to eat 18 teaspoonfuls (about 23 grams) every day for two
years, if the Rat Study results are used as a basis for comparison with
Long term testing of Borate
Miners' health shows no related health hazards, despite several extensive
Effect of the
Reclassification on our Products
Most of our products are
used at concentrations below the 5.5% (BAE) level, so will not require
any action and are not classified as hazardous.
The products that are used
at over 5.5% (BAE) will carry a warning label that indicates that if
you eat enough Borate powder (100% concentration), for long enough,
your reproductive abilities might be affected - although
there is no evidence of this in the official long term studies of Miners
who handle Borates daily.