The Borax “Health” Trend  

It wasn’t too long ago that teens were eating Tide Pods and posting the videos online. Now it’s adults eating the cleaning products – borax in this case – claiming that it provides health benefits. Borax is primarily used for household cleaning, helping to remove stains, mold, and mildew. Additionally, it can be used in laundry detergent to help whiten clothes and towels. It is also found in ant traps and is the primary ingredient in homemade slime. This leads to the question, what are the claims made by people ingesting borax? It is believed by some that adding it to you water will ease inflammation and reduce joint point. They also say that bathing in it will help detoxify your body. So let’s investigate. Are these claims valid? No. Health experts all agree that even though this trend is being shared on social media by “experts” with thousands of followers, there are zero health benefits to drinking or bathing in the chemical. Drinking borax can cause stomach irritation that can result in vomiting and diarrhea. If continued to be consumed, it can cause anemia and seizures. Furthermore, if someone bathes in the chemical it can cause a rash that can make the skin turn bright pink and start to fall off. In addition to those issues, drinking borax can cause the following health risks: irritation, hormone issues, toxicity, and death. Ingestion it can cause a mouth infection, vomiting, eye irritation, respiratory issues, and nausea. High exposure to borax can have a negative effect on hormones. In males it can reduce sperm count and libido. In females it can reduce ovulation and fertility. It can also harm fetal development and cause low birth weight. In children 5 to 10 grams is enough borax to cause severe illness. For adults 10 to 25 grams can be fatal. Because of this, some professions suggest not using any products that contain borax just to be safe. In The EU and Canada products containing borax are labeled as inappropriate for use on broken or damaged skin. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a toxicology physician and co-medical director at the National Capital Poison Center also warns of other TikTok trends berberine (dubbed nature’s Ozemic) apetamin (alleged to make people slim-thick). Wendy Stephan, an epidemiologist at the Florida Poison Information Center says that the reason these trends take off is because they are inexpensive, especially compared to prescription medication. TikTok works to combat misinformation with a combination of technology and moderation teams, but before following any online trend it’s always a good idea to do your own research and talk to a medical professional. Another thing to remember when watching these “health” videos is that the people posting these videos typically are making money from each post they make and view they get. People have died from taking borax. It’s rare, but it can, and has, happened. When misinformation spreads on social media, it’s because it centers on a few common themes: weight loss, improved appearance, live longer, decreased inflammation, and better sleep. Poison control centers and doctors often try to combat misinformation, but they don’t usually have the time or resources needed. Before you share content online, or follow the advice of a random creator, research it and find other opinions on it. Also, always consult a medical professional, especially when it comes to something like borax.  

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