WTF?! Remember back in 2018 when people were posting TikTok (and YouTube) videos of themselves eating Tide Pods? What about the Kiki challenge of the same year when people would exit their moving car and dance alongside the still-rolling vehicle to Drake's "In My Feelings?" Well, here we go again.
The latest idiotic fad to hit the internet is ingesting Borax. Borax is a cleaning agent introduced 132 years ago. It is primarily used as a laundry detergent booster but was also an active ingredient in cheap powdered hand soap before being discontinued. Now it seems that Borax is not only suitable for cleaning your clothes and hands. It's great for cleaning out your body as well. And here I thought the Tide Pod challenge taught everybody that eating laundry detergent wasn't good for you.
Here is what Ken Ober had to say after reading this article touting all the benefits of eating Borax:
Despite the packaging clearly stating not to eat the product, people are ingesting it with their food or drinking it in smoothies. Worse yet, instead of keeping their dangerous practice to themselves, they are flooding TikTok with videos touting the supposed benefits of eating Borax. They claim that it can reduce inflammation and relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain. It can also supposedly "detoxify" the body and prevent cancer.
These silly notions are based on a few studies claiming that the periodic element boron has health benefits. So since boron is in Borax, it must be good for you, right? These people fail to note and understand that the boron that might be good for you comes in trace amounts in natural foods like fruits, peanuts, legumes, potatoes, and milk. And that is assuming that the studies are of any scientific value.
So far, the FDA has never recognized boron as an essential nutrient, and no peer-reviewed studies have confirmed that the element has health benefits of any kind. On the contrary, actual science has concluded that Borax (as opposed to the element boron) is toxic. Ingesting it in even small amounts over short periods can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Long-term exposure can cause seizures and anemia.
Regardless of whether Borax can have health benefits or not, please don't eat anything out of a box that says "DO NOT EAT." It's just good advice. Don't go jumping on the 20-Mule Borax train. At the very least, get the homeopathic version some nutrition stores sell. At least, that was manufactured with human consumption in mind, but if you have ill effects, don't say we didn't warn you.