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Administrative data

Link to relevant study record(s)

Description of key information

Key value for chemical safety assessment

Bioaccumulation potential:
low bioaccumulation potential

Additional information

The data presented in IUCLID section 5.1.2 and section 13 shows that sodium borohydride hydrolyses to release hydrogen, sodium cations and boric acid within seconds during sample preparation and under physiological conditions.

Hydrogen gas will not be available for relevant exposure due to its volatility. Sodium cations as natural constituents of the body will not be assessed here for toxicokinetic properties. The below description refers to boric acid and related compounds.

There is little difference between animals and humans in absorption, distribution, and metabolism of borates. A difference in renal clearance is the major determinant in the differences between animals and humans, with the renal clearance in rats approximately 3 times faster than in humans.

Boric acid is not metabolised in either animals or humans, owing to the high energy level required (523 kJ/mol) to break the B - O bond (Emsley, 1989). Other inorganic borates convert to boric acid at physiological pH in the aqueous layer overlying the mucosal surfaces prior to absorption.Most of the simple inorganic borates exist predominantly as undissociated boric acid in dilute aqueous solution at physiological and environmental pH, leading to the conclusion that the main species in the plasma of mammals is un-dissociated boric acid. Since other borates dissociate to form boric acid in aqueous solutions, they too can be considered to exist as un-dissociated boric acid under the same conditions. Additional support for this derives from studies in which more than 90 % of administered doses of inorganic borates are excreted in the urine as boric acid. Absorption of borates via the oral route is nearly 100 %. For the inhalation route also 100 % absorption is assumed as worst case scenario. Dermal absorption through intact skin is very low with a percent dose absorbed of 0.226 ± 0.125 in humans. Using the % dose absorbed plus standard deviation (SD) for boric acid, a dermal absorption for borates of 0.5 % (rounded from 0.45 %) can be assumed as a worse case estimate.

In the blood boric acid is the main species present and is not further metabolised. Boric acid is distributed rapidly and evenly through the body, with concentrations in bone 2 - 3 higher than in other tissues. Boric acid is excreted rapidly, with elimination half-lives of 1 h in the mouse, 3 h in the rat and < 27.8 h in humans, and has low potential for accumulation. Boric acid is mainly excreted in the urine.


Read Across

For comparative purposes, exposures to borates are often expressed in terms of boron (B) equivalents based on the fraction of boron in the source substance on a molecular weight basis. As noted previously, only boric acid and the borate anion are present at environmentally and physiologically relevant concentrations. Read-across between the different boron compounds can be done on the basis of boron (B) equivalents. Conversion factors are given in the table below.



Conversion factor for equivalent dose of B (multiply by)

Boric acid



Boric Oxide



Disodium tetraborate anhydrous



Disodium tetraborate pentahydrate



Disodium tetraborate decahydrate



Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate



Sodium metaborate (anhydrous)



Sodium metaborate (dihydrate)



Sodium metaborate (tetrahydrate)



Sodium pentaborate (anhydrous)



Sodium pentaborate (pentahydrate)