Overview

Boron is a naturally-occurring element found combined with other elements throughout the environment. Boron is neither transformed nor degraded in the environment, although changes in the specific form of boron and its transport may occur, depending on environmental conditions. It is estimated that natural weathering is a significant source of environmental boron.

Ingestion of boron from food (primarily fruits and vegetables) and water is the most frequent route of human exposure, but occupational exposures to boron dusts may be significant. Boron is also a component of several consumer products, including cosmetics medicines and insecticides. Populations residing in areas of the western United States with natural boron-rich deposits may be exposed to higher-than-average levels of boron.

The EPA has identified 1,177 NPL sites. Boron, borate, and borax have been found at 21, 1, and 1, respectively, of the sites evaluated for these chemicals. However, we do not know how many of the 1,177 NPL sites have been evaluated for the presence of these chemicals. As more sites are evaluated by the EPA, these numbers may change (View 1989). The frequency of these sites within the United States can be seen in Figure 5-1.

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