Biological performance of gypsum products containing borates
J L Fogel, J D Lloyd
At suitable retentions borates have biostatic properties enabling them to be used for biodeterioration control in wood. They provide protection against decay fungi, mould, and termites, which are known to also attack gypsum products. Currently, many gypsum products contain added borates, which are used to improve physical and processing characteristics. Work examining the effect of borates at controlling biological attack in gypsum products is presented in this paper. Gypsum or gypsum board with different borate loadings was tested for its performance against dry rot, mould, and subterranean termites in order to see if current commercial levels of borates used in gypsum products would also render them resistant to these common types of biodeterioration. It was confirmed that the presence of borates significantly decreases the amount of biological attack found in gypsum products. From the results obtained it can be concluded that the addition of borates to gypsum products provides more than simple mechanical and processing improvements. For complete biodeterioration control however, especially against mould, higher retentions should be considered. This knowledge could have great significance in the near future, with moves to require termite resistant construction materials (including gypsum board) in some areas and the rising concern of illnesses associated with 'sick building syndrome' caused by in-house mould growth.