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#ToxicTuesday goes out to the latest craze in kids DIY – homemade slime made with Borax. I’ve seen blogs and videos all over the web advertising recipes for homemade slime and it got me thinking … how safe is this for kids to be playing with when a main ingredient is also used in many household cleaners? Let’s break it down (stay with me):
- Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. Borax and Boric Acid are NOT the same thing. Boric Acid is produced when you mix Borax with … duh… acid. The ingredient in slime is Borax, not Boric Acid. This is important to know because a lot of studies that look into the toxicity of Borax often use the two interchangeably when they are not the same and one is in fact more toxic than the another (Boric Acid).
- According to the Material Safety Data Sheet for Borax, it is classified as a health hazard level 1 – same as say, baking soda.
- Borax is toxic at high quantities, just like salt or a vitamin. Really you can overdose on anything if you try hard enough!
- Borax is banned as a food additive by the FDA. If it’s really on the same scale as salt – why is that? Depending on the age of your child, they may try to taste, lick, or flat out eat the slime. Worse yet, if you let your kid help you make the slime, they can inhale it.
- Studies on mice have shown potential reproductive issues when Borax was consumed in large quantities. These studies have not been done on humans.
Although not stated to be toxic unless in large quantities, it can cause nausea and stomach upset in moderate quantities and be irritating to skin.
So – is it or isn’t it toxic? The bottom line: jury is still out. I’ll take the safe approach and keep it out of reach of my children, just like I do the vitamins. But let’s be real – I have no Borax in my house. 😉
Try safe play-doh, finger paint, and solid state slime recipes instead!