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Thread: Are Borates in a pool illegal in CA?

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    Are Borates in a pool illegal in CA?

    I'm looking to add Boric acid to my pool and heard that it's illegal here in California. I can't seem to find anything to confirm that. Is it illegal in CA and if so, why? Thank you!
    ~Stephanie Just completed (March 2015) 17x32 IG gunite pool with raised spa and spillover, tanning ledge, 24K gallons, AquaPure SWG, Luna Quartz Pacific, Jandy 460 sq ft cartridge filter, Jandy variable speed stealth E pump 2 HP, Jandy 400K LXi Heater, Polaris 360 cleaner, 5 Jandy LED lights, 2 bubblers with LED lights, Travertine coping and decking (2,000 sq ft), 2 gas fireplaces, outdoor kitchen, TFT test kit

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    Patrick_B's Avatar
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    Re: Are Borates in a pool illegal in CA?

    Where did you hear that? Nothing in that state would surprise me, but this even seems far fetched for CA.
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    Re: Are Borates in a pool illegal in CA?

    It is not illegal in California. What you probably heard is that some companies that sell boric acid or Borax based products do not ship to California because of the increased transportation labeling and paperwork requirements (and possibly shipping costs, depending on carrier) because it used to be that California designated any substance with an LD50 (i.e. where the level is a lethal dose to 50% of subjects) less than 5000 mg/kg to be "hazardous waste" (even table salt would have been considered to be a hazardous waste were it not for a specific exemption), but this law got changed years ago to be less than 2500 mg/kg and boric acid has a higher LD50 so is less toxic than this.

    You will find 20 Mule Team Borax in grocery stores all over California. You will find boric acid in insect kill products all over California. You will find this pool product with disodium octaborate tetrahydrate sold in quite a few pool stores in California. ProTeam Supreme Plus (sodium tetraborate pentahydrate and possibly boric acid) used to not be shipped to California, but they don't say that anymore.

    Where did you hear this and exactly what did they say? I've bought boric acid from Duda Diesel and had it shipped to me with no problems.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
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    Re: Are Borates in a pool illegal in CA?

    I heard it from a pool store employee. We have already ordered and received boric acid from Duda so when I was told that, I was not too happy. I don't know how the state would know if I added Borates or not so it would seem to be difficult to enforce, even if it was illegal. I'm going to go ahead as planned. Thank you!
    ~Stephanie Just completed (March 2015) 17x32 IG gunite pool with raised spa and spillover, tanning ledge, 24K gallons, AquaPure SWG, Luna Quartz Pacific, Jandy 460 sq ft cartridge filter, Jandy variable speed stealth E pump 2 HP, Jandy 400K LXi Heater, Polaris 360 cleaner, 5 Jandy LED lights, 2 bubblers with LED lights, Travertine coping and decking (2,000 sq ft), 2 gas fireplaces, outdoor kitchen, TFT test kit

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    Re: Are Borates in a pool illegal in CA?

    This old MSDS revised in 2005 refers to the problem I described where they say "California identifies substances with acute LD50's less than 5000 mg/kg as "hazardous wastes". Sodium Tetraborate Pentahydrate is therefore a "hazardous waste" if spilled in California, and should be handled in accordance with applicable state regulations." For that reason, some companies decided not to ship boron products to California. However, that regulation changed and newer MSDS (though still 2011 so not that new) don't refer to any California limitation anymore. Nevertheless, some places like poolgeek.com say that "This product will not ship to the state of California."

    I think the other thing that may have happened is that California may have required that manufacturers selling boron products had to classify it as an algaecide or at least register it as a pesticide. If you look at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation Product/Label Database and look for the product PoolProof, you will find a registration for the Nisus PoolProof product. However, if I search by chemical names such as sodium tetraborate pentahydrate found in most borate pool products, I find the following registered (I left out ant killer products):

    ACTIVE (03/03/10)BIOGUARD MAINTAIN POWER CHLOR ( 5185- 502-AA )

    ACTIVE (06/05/12)MASTER LABEL - SUPER PUCK ( 5185- 460-ML )

    ACTIVE (08/31/06)MASTER LABEL - SYNERGY TABS ( 5185- 435-ML )

    ACTIVE (05/28/97)SYNERGY TABS ( 5185- 435-AA- 10305)

    So it looks like BioGuard decided to register only some of their borate products, specifically Trichlor tabs that contain some boron in them. They did not register their Optimizer Plus and it looks like ProTeam didn't register their Supreme Plus product. Interestingly for boric acid there are pool and spa products:

    ACTIVE (06/07/05)RENDEZVOUS PH MAGIC ( 7364-50023-AA )

    ACTIVE (02/07/12)RENDEZVOUS SPA SPECIALTIES PH MAGIC ( 7364-50030-AA )

    So you should show your pool store guy Rendezvous Spa Specialties pH Magic which is 97.98% boric acid and GLB Rendezvous pH Magic though both are described for use in spas. Have him explain how it could be illegal in California yet these products are sold and in fact registered in California for use in spas and also for pools according to the registration:

    A 99008 ADJUVANT: WATER MODIFIER 0 A0 REGULAR

    A 65011 SWIMMING POOL WATER SYSTE 0 A0 REGULAR
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Are Borates in a pool illegal in CA?

    I will do that, Chem Geek! Thanks for the help. California is one crazy state, lol!
    ~Stephanie Just completed (March 2015) 17x32 IG gunite pool with raised spa and spillover, tanning ledge, 24K gallons, AquaPure SWG, Luna Quartz Pacific, Jandy 460 sq ft cartridge filter, Jandy variable speed stealth E pump 2 HP, Jandy 400K LXi Heater, Polaris 360 cleaner, 5 Jandy LED lights, 2 bubblers with LED lights, Travertine coping and decking (2,000 sq ft), 2 gas fireplaces, outdoor kitchen, TFT test kit

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