information - woodworm treatment products
Boron Powder in water Woodworm Treatment - technical and safety information
have been used as Wood Preservatives for over 50 years. Boron-containing wood
preservatives are all derived from naturally occurring borate minerals. Boron
does not occur in nature in its elemental form, but as oxygen-containing compounds
such as boric acid, or borates such as Borax. The mineral tincal (Borax) is the
most significant source of commercially used borate. There are major deposits
in both the USA and Turkey and other forms of borate are found in South America,
China and Russia.
is widely distributed in plant and animal tissues and is known to be essential
for plant growth. The daily intake for humans varies from 0.5 to 3.1 mg from all
natural food and water sources.
levels of boron (boron in mg/kg)
- 10 to 20 mg
5 to 100 mg
- 0.03 to 3 mg
- 5 mg
in Woodworm Treatment
are a paradox in character as they are both essential micronutrients for plants,
and probably animals, but at the same time possess 'biostatic' activity which
has allowed their continued use and development in wood preservation over the
last 50 years. Approximately 5,000 tonnes of borate products are used in wood
preservatives split roughly into three categories:-
i) decorative timber treatments and construction in the Asia Pacific area
ii) formulation of exterior and remedial wood preservatives in Europe
iii) in construction, wood composites and pest control in North America
in other Industries
should be remembered that borates are used in hundreds of products and processes
throughout the world. The principle industries that utilise borate products are
glass, detergents, agriculture, vitreous enamels and ceramic glazes and there
is even a borate which helped you get here today - there is borate in your antifreeze
and elsewhere in a motor vehicle!
inorganic borates ores are mined and refined into a wide variety of usable compounds.
In the wood preservation industry the principle compounds are Polybor or Disodium
octaborate tetrahydrate (Na2B8013.4H20) and some use of Boric acid (H3B03) and
Boric oxide (B203).
in the Atmosphere:
Borates are non-volatile. As a dust borates rapidly settle from the atmosphere.
are naturally occurring minerals and are present in surface and underground waters.
Borates are rapidly dissolved in water and will disperse with dilution. Removal
at low concentrations is unnecessary and not considered hazardous to health.
Swallowing small quantities (one teaspoon) will cause no harm to healthy adults.
If larger amounts are swallowed, give two glasses of water to drink and seek medical
creation of dust. Use vacuum cleaners wherever possible. If symptoms such as nose
or throat irritation are observed, remove to fresh air.
Contact with Borates:
treatment necessary because it is non-irritating.
special handling precautions are required, but dry indoor storage is recommended.
Good housekeeping procedures should be followed to minimise dust generation and
accumulation. No specific fire fighting measures are required since Disodium octaborate
tetrahydrate is not flammable, combustible or explosive. The product is itself
a flame retardant.
of Data in this section:
PRESERVATIVE AND BIOCIDE SAFETY
Directive 98/8/EC concerning the placing biocidal products on the market, produced
by the Technical Committee of the Netherlands.
BORON RECLASSIFICATION - ongoing action by Rio Tinto
wood preservatives and biocides safely. Always read the label and product information
Data Sheet before use.
the correct safety equipment and keep unprotected people and animals out of the
treated area for the statutory period given on the label.
products have some hazards and the COSHH Regulations (Control of Substances Hazardous
to Health) apply to ALL building repair and construction products that we sell,
If in doubt
consult us for free technical help. Take care not to contaminate soil, waterways
or the environment with the product or the waste and packaging. These can be returned
to us for disposal.
using any type of chemical in your home if any of the following are likely to
come into contact with treated surfaces: babies, young children, asthmatics, pregnant
women or those vulnerable due to ill health.
Tinto, manufacturers of Borax Products, is currently appealing against the European
reclassification of some Borates. We will advise you when we have a definitive
ruling for the UK from the UK Authority, the HSE. Most of our Products will be
In the meantime
a warning label will indicate a hazard to your reproductive capabilities if you
should eat a significant quantity of high concentration Borate powder for a long
period, an unlikely risk in our Industry. To be at risk you might need to eat
18 teaspoonfuls (about 23 grams) every day for two years, if the Rat Study results
are used as a basis for comparison with Humans.
Long term testing of Borate Miners' health shows no related health hazards, despite
several extensive Studies.
of the Reclassification on our Products
of our products are used at concentrations below the 5.5% (BAE) level, so will
not require any action and are not classified as hazardous.
products that are used at over 5.5% (BAE) will carry a warning label that indicates
that if you eat enough Borate powder (100% concentration), for long enough, your
reproductive abilities might be affected - although there is no
evidence of this in the official long term studies of Miners who handle Borates
Control - why we use wood preservatives
the UK we are mainly concerned with woodworm treatment for Common Furniture Beetle,
(Anobium punctatum, in Latin). We need to practice safe woodworm beetle treatment
because of the long term damage that the woodworm larvae (grubs) cause in structural
and decorative woodwork in domestic houses and commercial buildings.
of the life cycle of the common furniture beetle (usually just called 'Woodworm'
for short) is important when carrying out woodworm treatment because we cannot
stop adult Woodworm beetles emerging using normal timber treatments, no matter
which surface applied woodworm treatment product we use. To eventually cure woodworm
we first need to break the 'egg laying cycle'.
furniture beetle starts life as an egg. These are laid on a bare, unpainted timber
surface, or in cracks and crevices, end grain and down old emergence holes.
These larvae hatch, bore into the sap wood, where they cause most of the damage.
The larvae feed on the wood and this 'worm' becomes larger for up to 5 years.
At some stage the wood worm moves close to the surface and constructs a pupal
Between May and
August the adult emerges from its pupal skin and chews its way out leaving the
familiar 'woodworm holes'. When they cut their way out they are not actually feeding
- the adult does not eat! When the adult beetles have emerged they mate and lay
eggs, frequently down the old emergence holes and into the pupal chambers and
tunnels. Sometimes both mating and egg laying can take place within the emergence
to stop Woodworm
treatment is essential, if active woodworm is present, in order to prevent
woodworm eggs from successfully boring into the timber and continuing the woodworm
life cycle. If woodworm, or worse still Death Watch Beetle, (or even worse still
House Longhorn Beetle) is allowed to continue to eat your wood, it will be structurally
weakened by the multitude of internal tunnels and beetle flight escape holes.
These exit holes are evidence of an attack of some type of woodworm, but the size
of the exit hole is important in determining the beetle species and hence its
life expectancy. Death watch Beetle has a much longer cycle (8 to 10 years) than
Common Furniture Beetle (3 to 5 years), so woodworm treatment, as a woodworm killer,
has to be adapted to suit the insect involved. Timber treatment is only part of
the woodworm story. Dampness also plays an important part in woodworm attack,
(woodworm prefer damp or wet timber) so timber treatment must take account of
damp, its source and its control or elimination. Fortunately, Boron based products
love moisture - they 'seek' the dampest parts of the wood, thus protecting the
most vulnerable areas.
our Qualified Woodworm Experts for safe, odour free Woodworm Treatment. We supply
a Licensed Borax product as an Insecticide - very safe, no smell and permanent.
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written by: David
B.A. (Hons.), C.T.I.S., C.R.D.S. Technical Author