Elmer’s glue, contact solution, food coloring, Borax. Which item doesn’t belong? The answer is: they all belong, but not all in a healthy way.
This eclectic group of items is the basic ingredients in homemade slime—the latest kid craze. Kids are making so much slime that many have made a business out of it. According to Parents magazine, some children have begun selling it at school. Most parents support the frenzy, for they would rather their kids play with slime than remote controllers. However, this gooey phenomenon has recently caused some controversy. A key ingredient—Borax—might be more harmful than parents first thought.
Borax contains a chemical called Boron, which can be toxic when digested or exposed to the skin at high quantities. According to a BBC report, physicians recommend a maximum exposure of 300mg/kg of boron. Otherwise, kids might be susceptible to numerous symptoms, such as diarrhea, cramps, vomiting, and eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. According to Parents magazine, it can even cause long-term fertility issues. Pediatrician Richard Uluski, M.D. told Parents magazine that chemicals should never be a part of a children’s toy. He believes that prolonged exposure to Borax can even lead to seizures.
On the contrary, several medical experts deny that Borax in slime could be of serious harm for kids. Family practitioner Vanessa Stoloff, M.D. asserts that contact between Borax and the skin is not problematic. Present in such low quantities in slime, Borax is unable to permeate the skin. Toxicologist Jason Hack, M.D. shares a similar opinion to that of Dr. Stoloff. He told Parents magazine that there is only danger in swallowing the slime, in which case parents should immediately call the American Association of Poison Control at 800-222-1222.
Nonetheless, several medical experts point out that not all recipes for slime contain exact measurements and quantities of the ingredients. Therefore, some kids might be adding more Borax to the mix than a medical expert would recommend. In this case, Independent suggests close adult supervision when children are at work. The British online newspaper also mentions a parenting blog called Cool Mom Picks, which provides some alternatives to this disputed ingredient. Some alternatives include cornstarch, chia seeds, and gelatin.
While this article may provide some conflicting views on Borax, its main goal is not to confuse parents, it is to raise awareness about the potentially harmful effects this chemical could have on children.