BorATES in Urbanization

Building Modern Cities with Sustainable Development

Today’s cities embody the excitement of modern living. Technological advances and bustling industry power the endless movement and expansion of the world’s urban centers. Yet we also call these cities home. Growth and innovation must be balanced by security, safety, comfort, and affordability.

U.S. Borax helps support sustainable development, efficient energy consumption, human safety, and technological advances. From ultra-high-strength steel in our cars, to fire retardants and wood protectants in our homes, to borate-based cleaning products and the borosilicate glass on our mobile devices, boron plays an essential role in the way we live.

US Borax

Built to Last

Durability and safety—we expect these qualities in our homes, vehicles, and city infrastructures. U.S. Borax products increase building materials’ ability to resist rot, corrosion, pests, and heat, improving the performance and staying power of everything from wood siding to roof tiles, railway ties to automobile frames.

  • Borates (i.e., boron compounds) can inhibit the growth of wood-damaging fungi and help to protect wood products against pests. That means wood treated with U.S. Borax products can be used in construction in areas that would otherwise be off limits because of rot or termites.
  • The fire-retardant capabilities of borates make them a perfect choice for housing and wiring insulation.
  • Ultra-high strength steel, made with borates, is much harder than other metals and makes cars lighter and less vulnerable to corrosion.
  • Borates used in the production of ceramic frits help to create robust glazes and enamels, for longer-lasting tiles, roofs, silos, appliances, and more.
Sustainable development

Efficient, Affordable Living

It’s simple logic: If building materials last longer, repair and replacement costs go down. If energy consumption is more efficient, heating and transportation costs are more reasonable.

  • Whether used in building construction or railway ties, the durability of U.S. Borax-treated wood can reduce repair and replacement expenses.
  • Borates impart benefits during the manufacture of glass fiber insulation and contribute to the thermal insulation properties of the final product. Borate-containing insulation reduces heat loss in buildings, improving energy efficiency and lowering heating and cooling costs.
  • Boron is an essential nutrient for crop growth. Boron supplementation can enable farmers to increase crop yield and quality, which can help to reduce bottom-line food costs.
Effects of urbanizations

Enabling Tomorrow’s Tech

Don’t let our 150-year history fool you: U.S. Borax is firmly rooted in the future of tech. Borates help strengthen your cell phone screen. They boost the cleaning power of laundry detergent. And U.S. Borax products are used to help build everything from wind farms to test tubes—dozens of products that keep us moving forward.

  • Borates are used to create heat-, shock-, and crack-resistant borosilicate glass for use in LCD screens in televisions, cell phones, and other electronic devices.
  • Borates are used in lithium ion batteries, capacitors, and supercapacitors, enabling electric vehicles and road transportation. Batteries and supercapacitors also enable the full realization of the benefits of intermittent renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar.
  • Borates are used in laundry detergents, household and industrial cleaners, and personal care products, thanks to their stain-removal and bacteria-control capabilities.
  • We care about sustainability. Our Product Stewardship and Health, Safety, Environment (HSE) teams are dedicated to the responsible production and safe use of U.S. Borax products.

Urbanization Products

Ammonium Pentaborate

Whether inhibiting heat, flame, or corrosion, the purity of this alkaline salt makes it an excellent choice. Learn More ›

Borax Decahydrate

From detergents to dyes to adhesives, this mild alkaline salt does it all, particularly excelling as a buffering and fluxing agent. Learn More ›

Borogard ZB

Protect wood and wood composites from destroying organisms, rot decay fungi, and subterranean termites. Learn More ›

Boric Oxide

This pure anhydrous form is ideal where boric acid is required without metals. A powerful tool in the production of specialty glasses, ceramics, enamels, and welding/soldering fluxes. Learn More ›


This hard, glassy, granular product is excellent when forming flux or glass, where it helps to increase yield and reduce energy consumption. Learn More ›

Firebrake 500

As a dehydrated zinc borate, Firebrake 500 has numerous applications as a fire retardant and can be fed into extruders, calendars, and injection molding equipment. Learn More ›

Firebrake ZB

This unique zinc borate combines the best of zinc and boron oxides with water release. Use it to develop fire-retardant formulations processable up to 290°C. Learn More ›


From reducing melting temperatures in fiberglass production to inhibiting corrosion in fuel additives, Optibor has a multitude of uses in numerous industries. Learn More ›


With lower transportation, handling, and storage costs, this concentrated sodium borate is used in glass and fiberglass, cleaning products, flame retardants, and more. Learn More ›


Polybor earns its spot in industrial cleaning compounds, fire retardants, and the manufacture of water-treatment chemicals. Learn More ›

Sodium Metaborate

Used in the preparation of starch and dextrin adhesives, this product provides increased viscosity, quicker tack, and better fluidity. In textile processing, sodium metaborate helps to stabilize hydrogen peroxide solutions and neutralizes acidic oxidation by-products. Learn More ›


This industrial, high-performance wood preservative is ideal for protecting rafters, cladding, and joinery against insects and decay. Learn More ›


Learn more about the applications of borates in modern urbanization.

Boric Oxide for Insulation Fiberglass
Boric oxide is widely used in fiberglass formulations because it has remarkable and relevant glass-forming, fluxing, and viscosity-lowering properties. Learn ... Learn More
Wallboard Basics
Gypsum, unlike cement, is a physical structure rather than a chemical structure. The needle-like gypsum crystals form a network to give the board its physical... Learn More
Long-Life Straw and Other Benefits of Borates
Borates offer significant benefits across numerous global industries, enabling safe, effective, innovative uses of sustainable materials. Learn More

U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 500 customers with more than 1,700 delivery locations globally. We supply 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto

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