What Is Boron

Boron is a solid substance that widely occurs in nature. It usually does not occur alone, but is often found in the environment combined with other substances to form compounds called borates. Common borate compounds include boric acid, salts of borates, and boron oxide. Boron and salts of borate have been found at hazardous waste sites. Boron alone does not dissolve in water nor does it evaporate easily, but it does stick to soil particles. No information was found on whether common forms of boron evaporate easily or stick to soil particles; however, these forms do dissolve in water.

Boron is present in air, water, and soil, but no information is available on how long it remains in these media. There is also no information available on the occurrence of borates in the environment or on how long they persist in the environment.

Borates are used mostly in the production of glass. They are also used in fire retardants, leather tanning and finishing industries, cosmetics, photographic materials, with certain metals, and for high-energy fuel. Pesticides for cockroach control and wood preservatives also contain borates.

More information on the properties and uses of boron and boron compounds and how they behave in the environment may be found in Chapters 3, 4, and 5.

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