Is borax responsible for Gardasil’s adverse side effects?

When French leaders voted to halt the sale and distribution of Merck’s human papilllomavirus (HPV) vaccine in France pending the results of a risk-benefit analysis, they said a number of questions about the vaccine remained unanswered. One of those questions involves the presence of borax in the drug — a substance that scientists, the French lawmakers said, don’t fully understand in terms of its effects on human health over a long period of time.

Borax, a boric acid salt also known as sodium borate, is a common ingredient found in rat poison, pesticides, and various commercial applications such as flame retardants, enamel glazes, and laundry detergent. So why is it one of the ingredients in a vaccine largely aimed at school-age girls and boys?

According to New Zealand-based news website Off the Radar, sodium borate “has antifungal properties, which means that its probable reason for being in the vaccine is to act as a preservative.”

Fortunately, sodium borate is no longer permitted for use as a food preservative in the United States and several other countries because the substance is known to be harmful to human health.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “Poisoning from this chemical can be acute or chronic. Acute boric acid poisoning usually occurs when someone swallows powdered roach-killing products that contain the chemical.” Moreover, “Chronic poisoning occurs in those who are repeatedly exposed to boric acid,” NIH says, explaining that it was once used “to disinfect and treat wounds” until it was discovered that “patients who received such treatment over and over got sick, and some died.”

Treatment for boric acid exposure and ingestion typically involves pumping the stomach clean, dialysis, and fluid intake by mouth or I.V.

Eerily, many of the symptoms of borax ingestion are similar to the adverse effects linked to the Gardasil vaccine. Collapsing, fainting/ loss of consciousness, convulsions/seizures, nausea, fever, skin irritations, dizziness, and general malaise. Researchers, however, do not yet know whether the presence of boric acid in Gardasil is responsible for these symptoms, prompting French authorities to halt the use of vaccine until some of these questions are answered.

Some critics in favor of the Gardasil vaccine argue that the small amount of boric acid salts in the vaccine are perfectly safe, but those claims are not rooted in thorough clinical testing. French lawmakers are right to seek answers to these and other Gardasil concerns before recommending it for widespread public use.


The National Library of Medicine

Le Point

Off the Radar