TikTok is no stranger to dangerous viral trends. In yet another disturbing trend, some influencers on social media sites have reportedly been encouraging their followers to drink borax as a way to help “heal inflammation”, New York Postreported.
Notably, Borax is a salt that is typically seen in a white, powdery substance also known as sodium borate. The powder is a combination of boron, sodium, oxygen, and hydrogen, and is found in laundry detergents, insecticides, and cleaning supplies. Boric acid, a distinct formulation of boron, is also used to kill ants and cockroaches. It has been banned from food products in the United States.
However, some people have wrongly claimed that adding a pinch of Borax to smoothies or coffee can ease the symptoms of arthritis, lupus, or other health issues. Many TikTokers with hundreds of thousands of followers have advocated the practice in videos that were later removed.
i regret to inform you that the tiktok girlies are drinking borax pic.twitter.com/K70969dCHO
— drew coffman 𝕚𝕤 𝕠𝕟𝕝𝕚𝕟𝕖 🟢 (@drewcoffman) July 17, 2023
The tiktok trend of consuming Borax for “its boron content” proves that even though we have unlimited resources to educate ourselves online people will still be stupid. These are all adults btw pic.twitter.com/KKj9YoPDqw
— Mallory (@theyrepassedout) July 17, 2023
Health professionals and medical experts are increasingly worried about the trend and are trying to debunk this bizarre practice, which can cause considerable harm to humans.
”But borax is actually a poisonous compound and should never be eaten. Borax consumption has been recently popularized on TikTok as a way to treat inflammation, but … there is no evidence that swallowing borax has any human health benefits,” Johnson-Arbor, a toxicology physician and co-medical director at the National Capital Poison Center, told Yahoo In the Know.
She added that consuming borax can cause stomach irritation and potentially result in blue-green vomit or diarrhea if ingested. Over time, it can cause anemia and seizures.
A chemist working on his doctorate in organic chemistry, with over 1.8 million viewers also raised an alarm, and called the trend, “patently dangerous.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, Borax is known to be dangerous when ingested. It can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin flushing, rash, excitation, convulsions, depression, and vascular collapse. In severe cases of poisoning, borax can cause kidney damage, seizures, and death.
“Extremely high doses of boron can be fatal; for example, 15,000 to 20,000 mg can cause death in adults,” the NIH said.
U.S. Borax also warned people 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.”
Earlier in April, a 13-year-old boy from Ohio, US died after overdosing on over-the-counter medication while attempting a viral TikTok trend. The boy was attempting the ‘Benadryl Challenge’, which encouraged viewers to take large doses of the antihistamine to induce hallucinations.
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