The question of the safety or harmfulness of borax and boron compounds to the environment or to human health is the subject of much debate.
Various studies have shown that excess boron in the soil can have an adverse effect on rootstocks for various crops of fruit and other studies show that boron deficiency is also a problem. Having considered the existing evidence from different animal species which showed that borates have an adverse effect on fertility (rat, mouse and dog) and development (rat, mouse and rabbit) the European Commission Specialised Experts in the field of Reprotoxicity advised that the compounds should be classified.
The German exposure limits are set out in the TRGS 900 regulations. These can be read (in German) using the following link. For regulations in other countries you should contact the relevant Governmental Health and Safety Body.
In certain areas of the world Local Authorities are restricting the discharge of Boron into solid and liquid waste.
Additionally following a decision of a Group of Specialised Experts of the ECB in the fields of Reprotoxicity meeting at Ispra, Italy in October 2004 it was decided to add certain boron compounds to the 30th ATP (Adaptation to Technical Progress). This controls the Classification and Labelling of Chemicals within the European Union.
The 30th ATP to the Dangerous Substances Directive 67/548/EEC was adopted by Member States on 16th February 2007. This was finally published in the Official Journal on the 15th September 2008 as Directive 2008/58 EC and will have legal effect in all Member States on the 5th October 2008.
With the implementation of the CLP –Annex 1 the previous Regulations have been superceded.
This 1st ATP (transfer of the 30th ATP) to amend Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 was approved by the REACH Committee on 25 March 2009. It was published in the Official Journal on the 5th September 2009 and became law 20 days after publication (25th September) from which date it has been incorporated into Annex VI of the CLP.
The details of the limits for Borax content of Chemical preparations as detailed in the 1st ATP of the CLP can be found (at page 126) in the following link.
In March 2010, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), published proposals to identify eight chemicals as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC) and possible candidates for authorization. These substances include boric acid and sodium borates.
Beginning of 2013 Poland has submitted a dossier to ECHA for a less stringent classification (Category 2) of all borates substances currently classified as Category 1B and is supported by the European Borates Association (EBA).
In addition to the dossier from Poland for boric acid, the Netherlands has submitted dossiers proposing a harmonised classification for disodium octaborate and disodium octaborate tetrahydrate as Toxic to Reproduction, Category 1B H360FD.
In March 2014, the RAC
(ECHA Risk Assessment Committee) discussed the reclassification of
boric acid as Repr. 2 (H 361d).
After considering the new
scientific data submitted by Poland, the RAC upheld the
classification for boric acid as a Category 1B.
The RAC also discussed a
proposal to harmonise the classification for disodium octaborate
(CAS# 12008-41-2) and disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT) (CAS#
12280-03-4) submitted by the Netherlands.
The RAC endorsed the Dutch
proposal, and both substances will be classified as Toxic to
Reproduction, Category 1B.
For further information please click the following link:
ECHA Public Consultation
We at Traxit are not experts in the relevant fields of Reprotoxicity or crop growth and therefore cannot comment on the correctness or otherwise of the proposed legislation.
However in order to comply with the proposed legislation and to answer the needs and requests of our customers we have produced a series of new and innovative products which are either completely boron free or have a boron content below the proposed limits.