Boric acid, a white powder or colorless crystal, is a weak boron-based acid. Boric acid is naturally present in mineral deposits like sassolite and can be sourced from hot mineral water springs. The minerals containing boric acid are processed using sulfuric acid to isolate crystalline boric acid. Borates, including boric acid, have a long history of use dating back to ancient times for purposes such as cleaning and food preservation. In 1948, boric acid was officially approved for insecticidal use in the United States. Additionally, it has been employed as an antiseptic and featured in various commercial products.

While minor, one-time consumption typically poses no significant harm, extensive ingestion or frequent contact can lead to toxicity symptoms such as gastrointestinal issues with green-blue vomit or diarrhea, distinctive skin alterations resembling ‘boiled lobster,’ and kidney damage that may be life-threatening. In severe instances, hemodialysis may be a viable treatment option.

Chemical formula H3BO3
CAS Number 10043-35-3
IUPAC Name Trihydroxidoboron
Other names Orthoboric acid, hydrogen orthoborate, trihydroxidoboron, boracic acid
Molecular Weight 61.84 gm
Appearance Colorless, transparent crystals, or white granules or powder, odorless
Density 1.44 g/cm³



Boric acid is a versatile substance with various applications in different fields.

  • Medicine: Boric acid is known for its antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it a valuable substance in medicine. It is used in disinfecting all body parts.
  • Lubricants: Boric acid is used in the production of lubricants that have high biological stability and pH stability due to its disinfection properties.
  • Fire Retardants: Boron salts, including boric acid, release water when heated, reducing ignition and fire.
  • Anti-Cancer Properties: Boric acid has been found to have anti-cancer properties, reducing the growth of cancer cells with higher doses.
  • Ceramic Industry: Boric acid is used to reduce the thermal expansion of materials and make ceramics, tiles, and glazed dishes shiny and attractive.
  • Insecticides: In households, it can be used to combat crawling insects like cockroaches

Additionally, it is a component in nickel plating solutions and electric capacitors, used for treating wicks and strengthening steel. In laboratory settings, boric acid is utilized to create buffer solutions.


Environmental impact and sustainability of Boric Acid

Boric acid undergoes decomposition at temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius, resulting in the formation of boric anhydride. The solution of boric anhydride is characterized as a weak acid. Boric acid and borate salts are typically eliminated from soils through leaching and absorption by plants. The low volatility of boric acid and other borates leads to minimal quantities of these compounds in the earth’s atmosphere. Particulates are removed through precipitation and direct deposition.

The half-life of airborne borate particles varies between a few days, contingent on the particle size and atmospheric conditions. Boric acid and borates are not believed to degrade or undergo transformation through photolysis, oxidation, or hydrolysis in the atmosphere.

When animals consume boric acid, they may experience increased salivation, thirst, elevated body temperature, vomiting, and diarrhea. Seizures and other neurological issues can manifest in cases of significant boric acid ingestion.


Boric acid is supplied in various forms, commonly in the form of white crystalline powder or granules. It can also be found in solution form in water.