Some teachers use it for science experiments or art projects, and thousands upon thousands of kids are making it at home. Polymer slime is fun, it looks cool to children, but it could end up causing serious irritation, and even worse, damaging fertility.
Health officials are issuing warnings about slime products, also known as GAK, that contain borax, a common household and commercial cleaner that can cause eye, respiratory, and skin irritation. In some instances, it’s been linked to hormonal disruption. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that large amounts of borax contact can result in reduced ovulation and fertility in females, and decreased libido and sperm count in males.
— Spangler Science (@SpanglerScience) February 22, 2017
In schools where slime is created for educational purposes, teachers are required to dilute it to non-toxic levels (1g of borax in 20ml of water). However, do-it-yourself (DIY) slime at home instructions are all over the Internet, with hundreds of instructional videos YouTube, showing children how to make it using borax.
Last month, Dr. Richard Uluski, a Connecticut pediatrician, told WCMH-TV that DIY slime can be extremely unsafe to children
“Something that’s a chemical should not be used as a toy. It’s very popular because it makes the stuff that you see in the stores and you can dye it all different colors. It is just like putting lead in paint and putting that on a toy and kids don’t want to put that in their mouth so it’s the same aspect here.”
Dr. Uluski also warned that ingesting borax could lead to seizures.
The adverse effects of borax aren’t immediate, according to Dr. Uluski. If your child accidentally ingests borax or any product or homemade toy that contains borax, contact the American Association of Poison Control at 800-222-1222.
In the meantime, experts warn parents against allowing children to make any type of homemade product containing borax.