Canadian Contractor

Boric acid in drywall – and its hazards

Boric acid is also known as hydrogen borate, boracic acid, orthoboric acid and acidum boric

April 13, 2017
By Alec Caldwell

You probably don’t view common drywall as a chemical safety hazard. Technically, it can be a real problem.

Construction workers cutting into gypsum, unless they are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), are exposing themselves to a toxic chemical called boric acid.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

This is NOT what most contractors believe – or want to hear – but long term exposure to boric acid can cause kidney damage and, eventually, kidney failure. Boric acid is also known as hydrogen borate, boracic acid, orthoboric acid and acidum boricum.

To recognize dangerous materials like these in construction workplaces, including home renovations, workers must take WHMIS training. All workers need the new 2015 version training of WHMIS by June 1, 2018.


The WHMIS 2015 version was implemented through federal, provincial and territorial legislation, and in line with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.

You can easily get this training online Canada wide or through a classroom environment in Toronto through CARAHS.

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