Teens Are Hoarding Borax & Glue to Make Slime—But Is It Safe?
The DIY slime-making craze has gotten so out of hand that stores are now running out of Elmer's. As in glue. Which is one of the ingredients—along with Borax and food coloring—in the many home recipes for the weirdly popular gooey stuff currently circulating online.
You knew this was a thing, right? I mean, just do a quick search for slime over on Instagram and YouTube and you'll find hundreds of thousands of tweens and teens making their own variations of this stuff, much of which has been pimped out with beads and glitter. The Slimers—oh yes, they have a name—then video themselves poking, pulling, and popping their colorful concoctions before selling them FOR CASH at school. As a parent, it's hard to imagine anyone willing to fork over good money for a gob of homemade slime. But people definitely are. So mad props for the entrepreneurial spirit, guys! And no judgment here—I'm a girl who once bought and collected pet rocks.
Anyway, supplies are now apparently running low. Which means it's currently harder to procure a container of white Elmer's glue then it was to score one of those elusive Hatchimals over the holidays. (Ok, so I may be exaggerating a little.) But still, Elmer's spokesperson Caitlin Watkins did recently tell NBC News that the company saw an increase in liquid glue sales in the second half of 2016 "due in large part to slime mania," and then added that they now plan to increase production. Pretty crazy! Especially considering all the controversy surrounding reports that the Borax used to make the slime may cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, and may even damage fertility.
Last month, Connecticut pediatrician Richard Uluski, M.D., told NBC4 that slime making simply isn't safe for kids. "Something that's a chemical should not be used as a toy," he said. "From a medical standpoint, too much of Borax can lead to medical problems including things like seizures."
Kinda scary. But experts like Vanessa Stoloff, M.D., a family practitioner at the University of Pennsylvania, say the whole Borax business is actually pretty benign. In fact, the DIY thing is currently going down in her own home courtesy of her 11-year-old twin daughters, who recently made a batch of cookie dough slime that smelled like fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. "As long as your kids' slime recipes don't include tasting it," she told Parents.com, "topical Borax shouldn't affect skin—especially at the amount being used."
Dr. Jason Hack, a toxicologist from Rhode Island Hospital, also has a daughter who's into making slime. "It's a great activity," he told WPRI 12 Eyewitness News. And he echoed Dr. Stoloff's arguement that the small amount of Borax the kids are using is not absorbed through the skin. "It would take eating a lot of it to actually become toxic," he explained.
Which brings up a pretty good point: If your child does accidentally ingest any slime that contains Borax, you should contact the American Association of Poison Control at 800-222-1222 immediately.
Of course, the decision whether or not to let your kids use Borax for slime-making purposes in the first place is a judgment call every parent must make for themselves (here's a great blog post that breaks down the pros and cons). But if you do decide to go ahead and allow it, it's probably a good idea to stick around and supervise—especially if your kids are in the lets-put-this-in-our-mouth-and-see-what-happens stage.
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If you're more in the market for something to keep your kids busy long enough for you to, say, catch up on the first two episodes of Big Little Lies—the mom drama is just so good, you guys!—there are plenty of Borax-free DIY slime recipes floating around the internet that will allow you to kick back and watch in peace. If you can get your hands on a bottle of Elmer's glue, that is.
Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more.
my daughter plays with the slime all the time. In her room, she has it in an open container. Does anyone else thing this slime is getting our kids high?Read More
Please note that contact solution contains borax (as well as boric acid), it is just prediluted for you. Recipes that contain things like contact solution or liquid starch are not borax free, they are just getting it from another source, often labeled under less recognizable names like sodium borate or sodium tetraborate. None of these items are particularly dangerous, but they do contain borax, which is what is responsible for the formation of the slime by forming borate ester linkages between the polyvinyl acetate polymers in the glue.Read More
20 Mule "Borax" Sodium Tetraborate is safe if you don't get it in your eyes or eat it. Same toxicity as water, baking soda, or salt in excessive amounts eaten can be toxic. Many people mix it with water and use it shampoo or increase the cleaning ability of laundry soap. Over and out.Read More
You need to know, borax is not Boric Acid. If you use it right, it's okay. But I suggest if your child is trying to make Borax Slime, tell her to replace it with contact solution, which is non-toxic, and safe as you don't touch it as you make it.Read More
My daughter used borax to make slime at her dad's house and i was so mad her skin was red and turned into hives i mean why when he knows how i feel about borax let her use it!!!Read More
Why do kids think they need to use borax it's just stupid i mean why would you?? I think any type of slime can be fun without it right i don't let my younger brother or younger sister use it or my kids i think the schools should banned it from school, and borax can make your skin itch and other things like that. So listen kids please take this comment and the article to mind thank you!!Read More