Boron

Sarah Jones
Research Chemist
Thursday, 6th June 2019
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Pile of boron powder that is dark gray

Boron

Information on the effects of boron in drinking water
Odour Not noticeable
Appearance Not noticeable in low concentrations
Taste Not noticeable
Limit 1 mg/L
Sources Rocks, soils, seawater, industrial leaks, wastewater treatment
Characteristics Not harmful in low concentrations
Health Impacts High concentrations can cause gastrointestinal, psychological, and neurological problems

Benzene in Drinking Water Information:

Properties:

Boron is a metal-like element called a metalloid. Although the metal is dark grey in colour, it isn’t often present in nature in its elemental form; more commonly, it can be found as boric acid and other related compounds. Boron can leach from rocks and soil and enter surface or groundwater supplies. It is also widely used in industry for things like detergents, fertilisers, herbicides, antiseptics, cosmetics, food preservatives, and glass-making (1). 

Sources:

Boron in drinking water may originate from both anthropogenic and natural sources;  rocks and soils can leach boron-containing compounds while industrial leaks, spills, and the use of detergents in wastewater treatment can introduce boron into water supplies. Additionally, boron is naturally present in seawater in relatively high concentrations.

Regulations:

The limit set for boron in drinking water is 1.0 milligrams per litre (mg/L).

Health/Environmental Concerns:

If only present in low amounts, boron does not pose a threat to human health; in fact, it may actually have a positive impact on chronic diseases such as osteoporosis. (1) However, if boron is present in high concentrations, it can lead to nervous system, gastrointestinal, and psychological problems. 

Action:

Exceedances of allowable boron levels may indicate natural mineral leaching or contamination by industrial discharge or other related activities. Contact your Water Services Authority if high concentrations of boron are present in your water. Common solutions to this problem include combing non-compliant samples with compliant ones to reduce the overall concentration of boron, removal with the use of granular activated carbon, or lime softening treatment. (1) 

 

 

(1) National Federation of Group Water Schemes: Guide to the Parameters in the European Communities (Drinking Water) (No.2) Regulations 2007 (S. I. No. 278 of 2007)

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Boron

Information on the effects of boron in drinking water
Odour Not noticeable
Appearance Not noticeable in low concentrations
Taste Not noticeable
Limit 1 mg/L
Sources Rocks, soils, seawater, industrial leaks, wastewater treatment
Characteristics Not harmful in low concentrations
Health Impacts High concentrations can cause gastrointestinal, psychological, and neurological problems