Ecological and toxicological aspects of boron (B) in the environment are reviewed, with emphasis on natural resources. Subtopics covered include environmental chemistry, background concentrations, effects, and current recommendations for the protection of living resources. Boron is not now considered essential in mammalian nutrition, although low dietary levels protect against fluorosis and bone demineralization. Excessive consumption (i.e., >1,000 mg B/kg diet, >15 mg B/kg body weight daily, >1.0 mg B/L drinking water, or >210 mg B/kg body weight in a single dose) adversely affects growth, survival, or reproduction in sensitive mammals. Boron and its compounds are potent teratogens when applied directly to the mammalian embryo, but there is no evidence of mutagenicity or carcinogenicity. Boron`s unique affinity for cancerous tissues has been exploited in neutron capture radiation therapy of malignant human brain tumors. Current boron criteria recommended for the protection of sensitive species include <0.3 mg B/L in crop irrigation waters, <1.0 mg B/L for aquatic life, <5.0 mg B/L in livestock drinking waters, <30 mg B/kg in waterfowl diets, and <100 mg B/kg in livestock diets.
Additional Publication Details
Boron Hazards to Fish, Wildlife, and Invertebrates: A Synoptic Review
Contaminant Hazard Reviews
Report 20 ; Biological Report 85(1.20)
U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service