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Am J Ind Med. 1985;7(1):31-43.

Cytotoxicity and negligible genotoxicity of borax and borax ores to cultured mammalian cells.


The cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of refined borax and borax ores were studied in cultured mammalian cells. In V79 Chinese hamster cells, C3H/10T1/2 mouse embryo fibroblasts, and diploid human foreskin fibroblasts, crude borax ore, kernite ore, and refined borax were all cytotoxic. The lowest concentrations at which cytotoxicity was observed were 0.02 mg/ml and 0.1 mg/ml for borax ore in C3H/10T1/2 and human fibroblasts, respectively, 0.2 mg/ml for kernite ore in both cell types, and 0.1 mg/ml for refined borax in both C3H/10T1/2 and human fibroblasts. The cytotoxicity was dose dependent above these concentrations. The concentrations of borax ore, kernite ore, and refined borax that reduced the relative plating efficiency to 50% were approximately 3.2, 1.6, and 0.8 mg/ml, respectively, in human fibroblasts and were 0.8 mg/ml for all three substances in C3H/10T1/2 cells. All three borax samples were not significantly mutagenic in assays for mutation to ouabain resistance in human fibroblasts an C3H/10T1/2 cells and were at most only weakly mutagenic in an assay for mutation to 8-azaguanine resistance in V79 Chinese hamster cells. Refined borax did not induce neoplastic transformation in C3H/10T1/2 cells. Crude borax ore and kernite ore induced weak transformation that was not dose-dependent and was not reproducible in another experiment. Therefore, borax and its ores are cytotoxic to mammalian cells at high (mg/ml) concentrations and are at most weakly mutagenic but not significantly oncogenic as measured in a cell transformation assay.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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