Shy Away from Slime

Everything you need to know about kids' slime toys

(RxWiki News) Slime toys are very popular among younger kids. But did you know that this sticky, gooey toy can be hazardous for your little one?

A recent report from the US Public Interest Research Group Education Fund shows just that. In its report, “Trouble in Toyland,” the group shows some of these findings.

According to the report, the main ingredient that makes slime fun can make it dangerous, too. This ingredient is borax, a type of boron compound.

Varieties of boron have been used in glass manufacturing, pesticides, antiseptics and detergents for years. Ingesting small amounts of boron — less than 3.68 parts per million (ppm) — is relatively harmless. At higher amounts, however, boron can be harmful. It can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headache and diarrhea. It can even have long-term effects on reproductive health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that a borax dose of between 5 and 6 grams is lethal for children.

Various federal and state agencies have put limits on the allowable concentrations of boron in things like drinking water and occupational exposure to the chemical. But there is no current limit on the allowable concentration of boron in consumer products like children’s toys in the US. Many European countries, Canada, United Arab Emirates and others have established limits on boron concentration in children’s toys. For example, the European Union limits boron concentration to 300 ppm in sticky, liquid toys and 1,200 ppm in hard, brittle toys.

Of the 40 toys surveyed in “Trouble in Toyland,” six slime products were found to have boron concentrations ranging from 1,100 ppm to 4,700 ppm. This is around three to 15 times more than the limit set by the European Union for boron concentration in liquid, sticky toys. The highest concentration is found in a product called “Kangaroos Original Super Cool Slime” — a concentration of 4,700 ppm.

Not all slime products contain a lot of boron. The main reason we have to be concerned about slime is that many young kids will see it and immediately put in it their mouth. To avoid potential harm to your kids, read the labeling to ensure you are getting the safest toy possible. Opt for toys that clearly state that they contain low concentrations of boron. This statement is not required, so only certain brands of toys will include it.

Making slime at home using various kits is also very popular among kids. Watching your kids make slime can also ensure they are not ingesting certain ingredients, especially boron.

We all want our kids to have a wonderful holiday season, so it's important that we keep them safe. Talk to your health care provider if you have any questions about boron safety for your child.

Written By Digital Pharmacist Staff

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Review Date: 
December 13, 2018