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Experts warn that the Tik Tok trend of eating borax is highly dangerous

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Health officials are fighting to convince people that one of the latest Tik Tok trends -- adding borax to their drinking water to reduce inflammation and ease joint pain -- is dangerous and can kill.  Photo by Chemicalinterest/Wikimedia Commons

Health officials are fighting to convince people that one of the latest Tik Tok trends — adding borax to their drinking water to reduce inflammation and ease joint pain — is dangerous and can kill. Photo by Chemicalinterest/Wikimedia Commons

July 22 (UPI) — Health officials are fighting to convince people that one of the latest Tik Tok trends — adding borax to their drinking water to reduce inflammation and ease joint pain — is dangerous and can kill.

Borax is found in laundry detergents and in cleaning supplies. And another formulation of boric acid, boron, can kill cockroaches and other insects.

But borax is banned from US food products, and poison control centers have advised that ingesting it can cause stomach irritation, rather than detoxify the body.

Taken often, it can cause seizures and anemia. A borax bath could cause skin to turn bright pink and fall off, medical experts say.

Borax has also been associated with nausea, diarrhea, convulsions and vascular collapse, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“There’s really nothing to support the use of borax in humans for inflammation or reduction of oxidative stress or anything like that,” Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor told NBC News.

Johnson, co-medical director at the National Capital Poison Center, frequently writes articles for her center’s website that debunks health fads, some of which appear on Tik Tok and are promoted by several influencers.

But one video by @chem.thug, who says he is a chemist working on his doctorate in organic chemistry, has gone viral with over 1.8 million viewers hearing him explain why eating Borax is a bad idea. He calls it “patently dangerous.”

US Borax has also cautioned about ingesting its product, saying the company “does not offer any product that we approve nor intend for use as a dietary ingredient, pharmaceutical and/or over-the-counter active ingredient, nor food additive or direct additive to foods.

“Our … products are labeled as ‘not for internal use’ and thus are not intended for internal related applications nor as an active ingredient.”

Just like many online trends, no one is sure how “the borax train” started down the tracks, though some observers say the idea stemmed from nutritional consultant Rex Newnham of Australia, who published findings in the 1990s.

Newham was an advocate of adding boron — and not borax — to the diet because it is an essential mineral that many diets lack. He and others said it was an important trace mineral that promotes bone growth and maintenance, improves wound healing, boosts magnesium absorption, and a dozen more uses.

The National Institutes of Health notes that foods with the highest boron content are prune juice, raw avocados, raisins, peaches and grape juice.