'Slime' is the latest hot toy, but how safe is it?

- It’s all the rage with pre-teens, but is it safe?

Homemade slime is being gifted, traded and shared on playgrounds everywhere. Thanks in large part to Pinterest and YouTube, it’s the latest do-it-yourself obsession.

“It’s pretty easy to make,” said 11-year-old Bella Ward of Tonka Bay, Minnesota. “There’s lots of YouTube videos that show you how to make different kinds…butter slime, foam slime, galaxy slime.”

The ingredients are simple and it’s easy to make, but some parents are raising concerns about its safety.

One “mommy blogger” claims the homemade slime made her daughter sick.

“Could there be people who have a special sensitivity? Sure,” said University of Minnesota chemist Chris Cramer. “If you are concerned, test it. Touch it. Put it away for a while and if you’re skin becomes irritated, you’ll know.”

Cramer says one of the ingredients—Borax—can be toxic, but not usually to touch. He says the slime recipe calls for very little Borax, and its chemical makeup changes once it’s mixed with the glue, so he sees nothing to worry about.

“It sort of changes chemically when it goes into the slime and becomes something less toxic,” he said. “At that stage, it’s more distributed.”

Borax is an ingredient used in common household cleaners. It can be found in flame retardant and used as pest and weed killer.

The naturally occurring mineral is poisonous if ingested, so Cramer says to monitor the making of the slime and keep the ingredient in a secure location away from children.

“Don’t panic, but always exercise adequate supervision,” he said.

Cramer says the makeup of the homemade slime is very similar to store bought Silly Puddy. He points out that children have been playing with that for decades without incident—to his knowledge.
 


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