Once again different methods of tanning are being discussed, just FYI here is how and what of Borax.
Chemistry: Na2B4O7 -10H2O, Hydrated sodium borate.
Uses: an ore of boron and as a source of borax (a cleaning agent and useful industrial chemical)
Borax is a complex borate mineral that is found in playa lakes and other evaporite deposits. The basic structure of borax contains chains of interlocking BO2(OH) triangles and BO3(OH) tetrahedrons bonded to chains of sodium and water octahedrons. Most old mineral specimens of borax are chalky white due to a chemical reaction from dehydration. They have actually altered (at least on their surface) to the mineral tincalconite, Na2 B4O7-5H2O, with the loss of water. This kind of alteration from one mineral to another leaves the original shape of the crystal. Minerologists refer to this as a pseudomorph, or "fake shape", because the tincalconite has the crystal shape of the predecessing borax.
Borax is directly deposited in arid regions from the evaporation of water in intermittent lakes called playas. The playas form only during rainy seasons due to runoff from adjacent mountains. The runoff is rich in the element boron and is highly concentrated by evaporation in the arid climate. Eventually the concentration is so great that crystals of borax and other boron minerals form.
Color is white to clear.
Luster is vitreous.
Transparency crystals are transparent to translucent.
Crystal System is monoclinic; 2/m
Crystal Habits include the blocky to prismatic crystals with a nearly square cross section. Also massive and as crusts.
Cleavage is perfect in one direction.
Fracture is conchoidal.
Hardness is 2 - 2.5
Specific Gravity is approximately 1.7 (very light)
Streak is white.
Associated Minerals are calcite, halite, hanksite, colemanite, ulexite and other borates.
Other Characteristics: a sweet alkaline taste, alters to chalky white tincalconite with dehydration.
Notable Occurrences include Trona, Boron, Death Valley and other California localities; Andes Mountains; Turkey and Tibet.
Best Field Indicators are crystal habit, color, associations, locality, density and hardness.
BORATES IN USE
Fundamental to Modern Living
Borates are an integral part of the natural world. Plants need borates to grow, and it seems people need them too. Not only as a nutritionally important part of their diet, but also as an essential ingredient in a dazzling array of the products we use every day. Borates are important ingredients in a variety of household and commercial products, chief among them:
insulation fiberglass, textile fiberglass and heat-resistant glass (43% of world demand)
detergents, soaps and personal care products (17% of world demand)
ceramic and enamel frits and glazes, ceramic tile bodies (12% of world demand)
agricultural micronutrients (5% of world demand)
Other uses including wood treatments, polymer additives and pest control products.
As one of the 109 elements that make up the planet, it's not surprising that boron is everywhere - in soil and water, plants and animals - in trace amounts. Although scientists refer to levels of "boron," it is important to note that the element boron does not exist by itself in nature. Rather, boron combines with oxygen and other elements to form boric acid, or inorganic salts called borates.
BORATES BY NATURE
Boron - The Marker Of A Healthy Diet
Plants get the boron they need from soil and water. In fact, they can't live without it. For humans, experts agree that boron is nutritionally important, and mounting evidence suggests that boron may be an essential element to our diet as well.
A key to understanding how much boron people need is knowing how much boron they consume, and from what dietary sources. Nutrition Research Group's Charlene Rainey of Irvine, California, is breaking new ground in her studies about the dietary boron intake of a cross section of healthy populations on four different continents. Her remarkable findings are highlighted in this article.
Measuring the boron content in healthy diets starts with determining how much boron is available in each different nutritional source. The first noteworthy morsel in Rainey's research is that some high boron foods are not ones that people immediately identify as boron-rich. It's no surprise that fruits like avocados, cherries and grapes are relatively high in boron. Almonds, peanuts and hazelnuts make sense, too. But did you know that scallops, mussels and clams have about as much boron as parsnips, beets and rutabaga (swedes)?
For junk food junkies, there's also good news. Licorice, chocolate and popcorn are high boron foods - with almost as much boron as oranges. And gourmets can rest assured: a glass of wine contributes about the same amount of boron to the diet as a glass of prune juice.
Once Rainey had established a nutrient data base quantifying boron content by food group, her next step was to find out how much people were eating.
Not surprisingly, she found some overlap in which foods contributed the most boron to diets in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Mexico, Egypt and Kenya. Potatoes made every country's top ten list, for instance.
What also emerged was the fact that the rural agricultural cultures surveyed tend to rely on a shorter list of food and beverages for their dietary intake - and for their boron intake. The list of the top 15 foods that contribute boron to people's diets in Mexico, Egypt and Kenya constituted between 80 and 94 percent of their boron intake; in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany, the top 15 contributors only accounted for between 48 and 63 percent of total boron intake.
Rainey's research forms an important foundation for understanding how much boron people around the world eat and drink every day - critical for understanding what role boron plays in human health.
First, they're safe. Used for centuries, borates pose no risk to people, animals or the environment under normal handling and use. Even those who handle borates every day have experienced no adverse health effects. Second, they're versatile. In some applications, there is simply no substitute for borates. In other products and processes, their natural functions impart a wide range of performance, cost, environmental health and safety advantages.
In certain organisms, borates can inhibit metabolic processes. This makes them useful in controlling insects, bacteria and fungi in everything from construction timbers to cosmetics.
Another key chemical effect comes into play in laundry detergents and other cleaning products, where borates are important components in bleaching and stain removal.
The chemical properties of borates serve to balance acidity and alkalinity in many applications. Detergents, fireworks and film processing solutions all rely on BORATES FOR A STABLE pH!
Borates are able to bond with other particles to keep different ingredients dispersed evenly and are used to control viscosity in paints, adhesives and cosmetics.
Borates modify the structure of glass to make it resistant to heat or chemical attack. In the same way, they facilitate the production of ultra-thin LCD screens, functional fiberglass and beautiful ceramic tiles and glazes.
Borates interact with surfaces containing iron to form a coating which protects the metal from corrosion. They are important additives in products as diverse as antifreeze and aerosol cans.
Combined with zinc, borates are used to retard flames and suppress smoke in polymers that coat electrical cables. Borates also act as a flame retardant in cellulose insulation.
Neutron Absorbing Effects
Borates absorb neutrons in applications ranging from nuclear containment shield to treatments for cancer.
Health & Safety Effects
Safe for People, Pets and the Environment
Borates have an excellent record for safety when used as directed. Boron compounds have low acute toxicity - meaning ingesting small amounts is not likely to cause health problems. Laboratory studies show large doses of boron compounds can cause reproductive and developmental effects in animals. However, similar effects have not been observed in humans. In short, there are no uses of borates - including mining and refining them - that pose any risk to human health.
When ingested, boron is readily absorbed into the blood stream by both humans and animals. However, 90 to 100 percent is excreted rapidly through urination. Boron is not metabolized by animals nor by humans. Boron compounds are poorly absorbed through intact skin in both humans and animals, although they can be absorbed through damaged skin. Boric acid and other boron compounds are approved for use in low concentrations in cosmetics and talc in the United States and Europe. Data also indicate that inhaling boron compounds does not pose a significant risk to animals or humans.
This is the pH
BORATES AND WASH pH
The value of the buffer index (ß the reciprocal of the derivative of the curve of solution pH vs. added base) is at a maximum under these conditions. Unusually for a buffer, the pH varies very little with borax solution concentration.
Should a higher pH be required, sodium metaborate may be used, but does not buffer at its natural pH of 11.06 (1% solution at 20oC) as effectively as borax.
I know this is a huge post but with the FAQ about DP's and Borax I feel maybe its time we take a closer look.
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Hey there John how are ya. I guess one could say don't be a moron keep the boron in its place. LOL sorry I had nothing better to say. TTFN Jack F
said after reading a 60 page book on penguins "gee, i really didnt need to know that much"
So can I sell you 50 lbs of a chemical, you dont know what it is but I tell you it works! Now you are going to get this chemical, you dont know what it is, you dont know what it will do to you or other members of your family.
Its white and works that all I can tell you.
Maybe its lethal in small doses, maybe it will cause your babies to be born naked, or maybe they could have hands growing out of thier forhead, maybe because of this chemical you have been geneticlly altered and no embryo will ever carry to term!
So this is more than you wanted to read? What if this agent had been used to defoliate trees?
HOw about I tell you of a chemical most of us use and its largest agricultural use is to defoliate plants, would you want to know about it?
Yes something we use daily is used just for that, causes the leaves to dry up and drop from green plants.
Want to know what it is?
Want to know just how toxic it is to fauna?
My bet is there are a few on this forum that know, but most dont!
Terry maybe you need to print this one off for future reference.
My kids were born naked ! Seriously, what are you referring to ? I'd like to know !
Many of the southern farms know, esp. when they defoliate coton, they spray saltwater on it. I found this out a few years back when I bought some barrels that had defoliante in them, I looked close at the label, salt and potasium chloride too. I had been a little reluctane to take them, but its not like they were agent orange.