The quick and dirty facts are that Borax is a pesticide that poisons insects, fungus and weeds, but it also has plenty of other uses that we encounter in consumer products. It has always been beyond my understanding how anyone could use borax to kill roaches one day, and then let their children play with it the next.
Being a former army wife, I saw borax routinely used by truck fulls (literally) on base and base housing to kill bugs. Knowing this, I always kept this product out of my home and refused to let it be used around my children, and later in my preschool, childcare and school science programs.
It's true that once upon a time Borax was considered a safe and eco-friendly alternative to harsher cleaning supplies, and recommended for use in the home by many planet loving groups. But a couple of a years ago, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) published a new report that proved the well intentioned environmental community had been very wrong. While their report was not the first of its kind, the EWG is a big name among eco conscientious folk, and so their report was enough for many to finally sit up and take notice.
lso goes by a few other names (just to make it confusing!): sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. A close cousin of borax is boric acid, which has many of the same concerns discussed below. If you are an obsessive label reader like me, knowing all of Borax's names helps you avoid this ingredient in its many forms.
The really scary part when talking about Borax and children is this: