Health Risks of Using Boric Acid to Kill Roaches

Boric acid is widely used as a roach killer in homes and commercial buildings. In fact, in 2009 there are over 100 pesticide products in the United States that contain boric acid as an active ingredient. However, boric acid contains many health risks and has proven to be a health hazard in many ways.

Respiratory Infections

The accidental inhalation of boric acid often leads to an infection of the upper respiratory tract. This infection is noted by shortness of breath and harsh coughing. If the infection becomes worse, it may lead to further health complications and even death.

Irritation Problems

When exposed to boric acid, many people commonly experience irritation of the nose, eyes and throat. While this health risk is unfortunate, it typically does not lead to serious complications of the eyes, throat or nose.

Birth Defects

A developing fetus is most at risk for developing serious health problems when exposed to boric acid. Low birth weight, birth defects and fetal death are among the health risks experienced. For this reason, pregnant women should avoid exposure to boric acid.


Studies have shown that humans typically experience serious health risks from boric acid only when exposed to high doses. The minimum dose of boric acid required for lethality is 2-3 grams in infants, 5-6 grams in children and 15-20 grams in adults. The Environmental Protection Agency considers boric acid as "moderately acutely toxic."


When working with boric acid to kill roaches, it is essential to be cautious and follow the manufacturer's directions completely. Careful application should minimize the risk of exposure and any potential health hazards.

Krista Sheehan

Krista Sheehan is a registered nurse and professional writer. She works in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and her previous nursing experience includes geriatrics, pulmonary disorders and home health care. Her professional writing works focus mainly on the subjects of physical health, fitness, nutrition and positive lifestyle changes.