I do woodwork and have some lumber with powder post beetle infestation. I have used some off the shelf / Ortho ant and termite treatment that was effective but after a few years they are back. My shed is against the woods and the West Virginia DNR indicated there is no real escape. I do not doubt the effectiveness of Boracare but how safe is it to humans? I just built a poplar tack box for a grandchild and saturated it with mineral spirits after heating the wood to about 150 degrees or more. When that is dried, I planned to finish and seal with polyurethane.
BORA-CARE is one of the safest products to use for long term control of wood destroying organisms like termites, powderpost beetles, mold and fungus. This is true for several reasons. First and foremost, all pesticides have a certain amount of inherent risk associated with their use based on the active ingredient they employ. No doubt some have more “risk” associated with their use. For example, rodenticides target rats which are mammals and they do so by making their rodent bait taste good. This increases the risk that a non target animal might eat some. In turn this makes the product more “risky” compared to other pesticides. And that’s probably one of the reasons all rodenticides are about to undergo some major changes in the next year or two as both the government and rodenticide manufacturers attempt to curtail the risk associated with it’s use. The big reason is that if non target mammals were to eat some, the risk of them getting injured is high.
But the active used in Bora-Care and many products which target insects is relatively low compared to something like a rodenticide. In fact, insecticides have only three ways of affecting mammals (people). One is by eating or ingesting the product, two is by inhaling or breathing the product and three is by dermal contact or absorption through the skin. Given this fact it stands to reason that aerosols, dusts or liquids with a high volatility would be more risky because anything airborne is more likely to get “inside” a person or animal. Well, Bora-Care has just about no volatility once applied and cured so you can rule out that a possible risk or way to get an exposure. And since people don’t generally eat wood the risk of them eating or ingesting some to get exposed would be just about zero. But what about through touch? Well, unlike most insecticides that lay on the surface of the treated area targeting insects out in the open, Bora-Care is unique in that it actually does all it’s work deep inside the treated wood. In fact very little active would be “touchable” once it’s absorbed by the treated lumber so the risk of getting and exposure via touching is virtually zero as well.
On top of all this there is still a big “plus” making Boracare overall a relatively safe product to employ. Bora-Care uses the active Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate which is regarded as both a low impact and a “green” pesticide for the environment. That’s because it’s very mild compared to other pesticides. In fact it’s so mild it can’t kill insects unless treated wood is consumed or ingested. This has always been the big problem with borate type products; the safe use benefit of these products has been known for a long time but trying to get target insects to eat anything treated with it has been the challenge. Fortunately back in the 80’s, Nisus Corporation figured out a way to get this active to penetrate wood in a somewhat uniform way. And here we are some 30 years later and no doubt Bora-Care is now one of the safest ways to protect your home, sheds and other wood constructed structures from wood destroying insects.
So to answer your question; yes, Bora-Care is safe to use around humans. I would even go on to say it’s one of the safest options available when it comes to long term protection for structures or other wood based buildings.
Here are direct links to the information and products listed above:
Powderpost Beetle Control: http://www.powderpostbeetles.com/powderpost-beetle-control