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Poison in Flameproof Beds
Doctor & Public Comments
Table of Chemicals in Beds
Chemicals Absorbed
Pounds Poison in Beds
Proponents Say & Rebuttals
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Antimony linked to SIDS
Antimony Risks
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See More Health Risks at:
PeopleForCleanBeds.org




 


 

               Boric Acid Risks

A study (Tarasenko et al. 1972), summarized by Moore (1997), found a decrease in sexual activity in 28 workers exposed to very high concentrations of boron (10 mg/m3). Examination of the semen from six of the workers demonstrated a reduction in semen volume, a decrease in the number of spermatozoa, and decreased sperm motility.

Page 160

As discussed in the section on Absorption, boron has been detected in the urine after exposure to boric acid via the dermal, inhalation, and oral routes.
 

Developmental toxicity appears to be the most sensitive endpoint for boric acid.


National Academies of Science, Toxicological Risks of Selected Flame-Retardant Chemicals (2000), Commission on Life Sciences (CLS)

http://books.nap.edu/books/0309070473/html/160.html

 

“Chronic dermal exposure to boron in neonates was fatal (Litovitz et al. 1988).”

“Boron does cause health effects following acute dermal exposure.”

“Animal studies demonstrated that boron can cause injury after intermediate and chronic exposure to the gonads in animals, especially the testes. (Seal and Weeth 1980)”

Death. Human studies have shown that boron can be lethal following short-term exposure. The minimal lethal dose of ingested boron (as boric acid) was reported to be 2-3 g in infants, 5-6 g in children and 15-20 g in adults (Locatelli et al. 1987; Wong et al. 1964).”

The above quotes come from The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) a division of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) published report called ‘Health Effects’ that reviews all the known science on Boric Acid. Please see the entire 36 page report at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp26-c2.pdf  Below are quotes from the conclusions of this document:

  •  “Demonstrated injury to the gonads and to the developing fetus. …
  • Boron (as boron oxide and boric acid dusts) has been shown to cause irritation of the upper respiratory tract in humans. …
  • Boron does cause health effects following acute dermal exposure. …
  • Neonatal children are unusually susceptible to boron exposure. …
  • Neurological damage is an area of concern following exposure to boron …
  • In spite of the absence of reliable human data, limited evidence of reproductive effects in animals suggest that reproductive toxicity may be an area of concern following boron exposure in humans.”

 

We know the most about Boric Acid from numerous human and animal studies that cover not only ingestion, but also inhalation, skin contact, and genital contact. All these studies show serious risks for humans. Our government gives us strong warnings about Boric Acid chronic exposure risks with the greatest risks being neurological, and reproductive damage.

Studies with dogs showed genital contact with Boric Acid attacked, damaged, and shrunk the gonads.

“Studies in humans, particularly infants, show that boron (as boric acid) can be lethal following ingestion. Infants who ingested formula accidentally prepared with 2.5% aqueous solution of boric acid died within 3 days after exposure (Wong et al. 1964). … 5 of 11 infants died … Degenerative changes were seen in the liver, kidney, and brain.”

“One study was reported involving occupational exposure (10 years or greater) to boron aerosols (22-80 mg/m3) in males engaged in the production of boric acids (Tarasenko et al. 1972). The study group was small, consisting of 28 men. Low sperm counts, reduced sperm motility and elevated fructose content of seminal fluids were observed.”

“Dogs were fed 29 mg boron/kg/day as borax and boric acid (1,170 ppm), respectively in the diet for 38 weeks (Weir and Fisher 1972). Testicular atrophy and spermatogenic arrest were reported. Reproductive effects were reported in rats following chronic exposure. In rats fed up to 58.5 mg boron/kg/day (as borax or boric acid) for several generations, there was a lack of viable sperm in atrophied testes and ovulation decreased in females (Weir and Fisher 1972).”

“Boric acid was detected in urine of patients 23 days after a single ingestion (Wang et al. 1964).”

“In animals, prenatal exposure of mice (79 mg boron/kg/day as boric acid) and rats (13.6 mg boron/kg/day as boric acid) during gestation days 0-17 and 0-20 caused developmental effects consisting of reduced fetal body weight or minor skeletal changes and possibly delay in maturation (Heindel et al. 1991). There was degeneration of the seminiferous tubules and impaired spermatogenesis in mice exposed to dose levels of 111 mg boron/kg/day as boric acid for 2 generations (NIEHS 1990).”

Boric Acid MSDS

Boric Acid is absorbed through skin contact, particularly damaged skin, and inhalation. Quoting the federally required Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Boric Acid (H3BO3):

Potential Health Effects
----------------------------------

Inhalation:
Causes irritation to the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract. May be absorbed from the mucous membranes, and depending on the amount of exposure could result in the development of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, rash, headache, fall in body temperature, low blood pressure, renal injury, cyanosis, coma, and death.
Ingestion:
Symptoms parallel absorption via inhalation. Adult fatal dose reported at 5 to > 30 grams.
Skin Contact:
Causes skin irritation. Not significantly absorbed through the intact skin. Readily absorbed through damaged or burned skin. Symptoms of skin absorption parallel inhalation and ingestion.
Eye Contact:
Causes irritation, redness, and pain.
Chronic Exposure:
Prolonged absorption causes weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, skin rash, convulsions and anemia. Liver and particularly the kidneys may be susceptible. Studies of dogs and rats have shown that infertility and damage to testes can result from acute or chronic ingestion of boric acid. Evidence of toxic effects on the human reproductive system is inadequate.
Aggravation of Pre-existing Conditions:
Persons with pre-existing skin disorders or eye problems, or impaired liver, kidney or respiratory function may be more susceptible to the effects of the substance.”

See full MSDS: www.jtbaker.com/msds/englishhtml/b3696.htm 

 

The following quotes are from the conclusions of a recent EPA document:
http://www.epa.gov/iris/toxreviews/0410-tr.pdf

June 2004

6. MAJOR CONCLUSIONS IN THE CHARACTERIZATION OF HAZARD AND DOSE RESPONSE

6.1. HUMAN HAZARD POTENTIAL

Studies in laboratory animals conducted by oral exposure have identified the developing fetus and the testes as the two most sensitive targets of boron toxicity in multiple species (Weir and Fisher, 1972; Seal and Weeth, 1980; NTP, 1987; Fail et al., 1991; Price et al., 1996a,b; Field et al., 1989).

The developmental effects that have been reported following boron exposure include high prenatal mortality, reduced fetal body weight and malformations and variations of the eyes, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and axial skeleton (Price et al., 1996a,b; Field et al., 1989).

The testicular effects that have been reported include reduced organ weight and organ:body weight ratio, atrophy, degeneration of the spermatogenic epithelium, impaired spermatogenesis, reduced fertility and sterility (Weir and Fisher, 1972; Seal and Weeth, 1980; NTP, 1987; Fail et al., 1991; Dixon et al., 1979; Linder et al., 1990; Treinen and Chapin, 1991; Ku et al., 1993 ).

Boron is readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract following oral exposure (Schou et al., 1984; Vanderpool et al., 1994). Boron is also absorbed following inhalation exposure, although it is not clear how much is absorbed directly through the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and how much is cleared by mucociliary activity and swallowed (Culver et al., 1994).

Boric acid and borate compounds in the body exist primarily as undissociated boric acid, which distributes evenly throughout the soft tissues of the body (Ku et al., 1991; Naghii and Samman, 1996b). Although it does not accumulate in the soft tissues, boron does accumulate in bone, reaching steady-state levels approximately 4-fold higher than plasma levels after 1-4 weeks, depending on dose (Ku et al., 1991; Chapin et al., 1997). Boric acid is not degraded in the body, but can form complexes with various biomolecules by mechanisms that appear to be concentration dependent and reversible (IEHR 1997; WHO, 1998a). Boric acid is excreted primarily in the urine. It is cleared from the plasma with a half-life of approximately 21 hours (Jansen et al., 1984a), but eliminated very slowly from bone (Chapin et al., 1997).

Confidence in the principal developmental studies is high; they are well-designed studies that examined relevant developmental endpoints using a large number of animals. Similar developmental effects were noted in rats, mice and rabbits. Confidence in the data base is high due to the existence of several subchronic and chronic studies, as well as adequate reproductive and developmental toxicology data.

Occupational exposure to boron dust and exposure to boron in consumer products (e.g., cosmetics, medicines, insecticides) are other potentially significant sources (ATSDR, 1992). [I don’t think these researchers or EPA ever considered the possibility that we would put 1.5 pounds of Boric Acid powder as loose dust in the surface of Queen mattresses.]

http://www.epa.gov/iris/toxreviews/0410-tr.pdf



Millions of people are unknowingly already sleeping in this poison in anticipation of this new law. Industry, CPSC, and California will soon force our entire population to sleep in these chemicals.

 

The science of toxicology uses high dose short-term exposure on various animals to predict the affect of low dose long-term exposure on humans. Chemical exposure risk greatly increases with, close contact, and length of exposure. For an infant born today this exposure on a mattress will be eight or more hours per day, every day, for the next seventy years or more.

 

Cutaway Photo of Boric Acid Innerspring Mattress

 

This mattress cutaway shows how Boric Acid is used in mattresses. The layer at the surface is fluffy cotton batting treated with Boric Acid. The layer next to the springs is compressed cotton batting treated with Boric Acid. The law label tells us the mattress contains: 47% Urethane Foam, 39% Treated Cotton, 13% Polyester Fiber. By weighing the cotton batting in the mattress and assuming 10% Boric Acid by weight, Boric Acid treated mattresses would contain the following amount of Boric Acid in each mattress:

Amount of Boric Acid in Mattresses by Size

Size Pounds Ounces Grams Miligrams
King 1.8 29 824        824,000
Queen 1.5 23 659        659,000
Full 1.2 20 553        553,000
Twin 0.9 14 386        386,000

Here is how Boric Acid is applied to cotton batting: “Generally applied in the mixing machine prior to garneting, boric acid is introduced to the cotton fibers along with a small amount of oil and chemical surfactant. To further achieve even distribution and adherence to the fibers, the boric acid is ground to a very fine consistency prior to application. … Applied as a white powder, boric acid is inorganic and is odorless.” (NCBI) Thus you can see Boric Acid is not chemically bound and exists as loose dust in the surface of our mattresses. As the mattress gets older and oils dry out even more Boric Acid will kick up into our faces with every body movement for us to breathe and absorb.

Human fatal single dose of Boric Acid reported at 2 g. Children, 5 g. Adults. There are already 6,453 US cases of Boric Acid Poisoning every year. Our calculations show young children could be poisoned by sucking on boric acid mattresses.

These mattresses also contain Antimony. The CPSC extraction studies show cotton batting flame proofing systems contain 2.4% Antimony. Based on cotton batting weights measured above mattresses would contain the following amounts of Antimony:

Amount of Antimony in Mattresses by Size

Size Pounds Ounces Grams Miligrams
King 0.43 7 198       197,760
Queen 0.36 6 158       158,160
Full 0.29 5 133       132,720
Twin 0.22 3 93        92,640

Most government agencies say there is no safe level of Antimony absorption.

By assuming, without data, that we will absorb only 2/1,000's of Antimony and 9/100,000's of Boric Acid, that has leached through our mattress and is in contact with our bodies, the CPSC says we will absorb a daily dose of .802 mg Antimony and .083 mg Boric Acid, every day for the rest of our lives. Of course, the real number could be much higher. Many people don't want to absorb any poison from their mattress and would rather take the one in one million mattress fire risk.