Boron and Fluoride Studies

Boron and fluoride are used in a variety of industrial applications. The regulatory setting to manage and establish protective limits for boron and fluoride-containing residual materials has not evolved with the state of the science. This presents unique challenges to businesses where these analytes are critical to operations.

EHS Support has industry-leading technical capabilities in fluoride and boron aquatic ecotoxicology, fate, transport, and remediation. Through focused investment in research and partnership with a variety of stakeholders, EHS Support is advancing approaches for more holistic management of boron and fluoride in terrestrial and aquatic environments.

Challenges of Boron and Fluoride Aquatic Limits

USEPA has yet to issue guideline values for the protection of aquatic life for boron or fluoride.

Boron is unique in that it is a toxicant and an essential micronutrient that is required by plants, various phytoplankton species, and some fish, amphibians, and microorganisms. The dual role of boron as both a toxicant and an essential micronutrient leads to challenges in the regulatory sphere.

Existing fluoride limits span several orders of magnitude and were developed using uncertainty factors based on limited data available at the time of derivation. Given the expanded understanding of fluoride ecotoxicity, new limits can be derived using more technically robust bioavailability modeling approaches.

Science to Support Business and Protect the Environment

At EHS Support, we are actively working to integrate the most recent advancements in the understanding of aquatic boron toxicity, deficiency, and essentiality to develop novel approaches for quantifying the related ecological risk. These approaches will allow us to keep pace with the state of the science and provide solutions to our clients despite current regulatory uncertainty.

We are also undertaking a major international study with industry groups to establish a robust regulatory framework for defining appropriate discharge limits and better manage the permitted release of fluoride to the aquatic environment. This study synthesizes previous work conducted by EHS Support and industry group members focused on understanding fluoride fate, transport, and toxicity. These solutions can also be implemented for other essential elements where regulatory consensus is lacking, allowing us to adapt this approach to specific client needs.

For additional details on these projects and EHS Support’s experience with fluoride fate, transport, and ecological risk assessments, please contact Samuel Parker, Ph.D., senior scientist.


To learn more about how EHS Support is a global leader in fluoride fate, transport, and remediation, contact Andrew Fowler, Ph.D., senior geologist/geochemist.


For information on boron fate, transport, and ecological risk assessments, contact Austin Wilkes, senior scientist.

Our Project Experience