Boron is a metalloid chemical element, it is trivalent and semiconducting which is found in abundance in the mineral borax. It is the only nonmetal in the periodic table that has less than four electrons in its outer shell.
It is presented by the symbol B, its atomic number is 5 and its weight corresponds to 10,811. The color it displays ranges from jet black to silver gray and metallic reflections. Its electron configuration is He 2s2 2p1.
This element is prepared in an amorphous or crystalline form and it is brittle, with high hardness. Although little known about it, it is very important for the nervous and bone systems, as it is of great help in the assimilation of phosphorus, calcium and magnesium. In addition, it allows the balance of hormone levels, as it promotes the proper functioning of testosterone and estrogen.
Boron is even associated with reducing certain types of cancer and various medical studies recommend its consumption when women are facing menopause and have hormonal issues. The Association of Fruit and Vegetable Producers of Val Venosta explains that this mineral, among other fruits, is found in apples, plums and strawberries, as well as in vegetables and nuts. You can know its electron configuration from here.
Applications and uses of boron
- Although boron is mainly used in metallurgy, all its compounds are applied in various fields.
- Among its main uses are the following, in addition to those mentioned above:
- Boron serves to stimulate the use and production of vitamin D in the body.
- It is used to prevent and treat pain from osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
- Promotes the secretion of estrogen, which is linked to female fertility and the menstrual period.
- Foods rich in this mineral serve to stimulate the reduction of testosterone. Boron is recommended for gaining increased muscle mass and also helps people recover after heavy physical exertion.
- Boron helps with cognitive development and is linked to brain function.
- It stimulates the immune system.
- It is used to make possible the heat treatment of malleable cast iron and also for the refining of aluminium.
- Due to its physical properties, boron is used to build rocket and missile technology.
- Borax, refined, has an important role in the production of certain detergents such as water softeners, soaps, ironing starches, it is also used for powders, adhesives, among others.
Effects of boron use on the environment
In the environment, boron is naturally present, it is released from soil, water, air, by erosion processes. It can also be found in small amounts in groundwater.
People use this element in the glass industry, however, the release by humans is much lower than the concentrations that are released naturally.
Boron finds its way into the food chain as it is taken up from the soil by plants and animals, in turn, through them, when they consume them. It has been found in animal tissues, but does not appear to accumulate.
Boron, absorbed by animals in large quantities over a short period of time through ingestion of food or water, can damage male reproductive organs. If during pregnancy animals are exposed to this element, their offspring may have failures or developmental defects.
Effects after using boron on health
Although exposure to boron through water or air does not occur regularly, as mentioned above, humans can be exposed to it through the consumption of produce, fruits, vegetables.
This element does not accumulate in the tissues of animals, so its consumption of meat or months does not increase the level of concentration in the body. Humans are also exposed to boron by consuming products used for laundry or cosmetics, since some are made with this element.
If a person eats boron-rich foods, it can lead to health problems as boron concentration levels increase. Too much boron can affect the liver, kidneys, brain, stomach and even possibly lead to death. If exposed to a small amount, irritation of the eyes, throat and nose is possible.