The Queensland Poisons Information Centre are alerting parents to the dangers of making slime at home, after witnessing an increased number of poisonings due to borax ingestion.
Keep out of reach?
Borax – aka sodium borate – is one of the ingredients of this popular homemade substance. Borax is often kept at home in the laundry as it has useful stain-removal abilities when added to the wash. The Queensland Poisons Information Centre’s Carol Wylie said while tiny, diluted amounts of the mineral won’t do any harm, ingesting larger amounts pose a real risk to kids.
Authorities across the country are growing increasingly concerned about kids having access to borax, as the fad for DIY slime gains momentum.
“This has come up in meetings with my interstate colleagues so it isn’t just a Queensland thing,” Carol told the ABC, revealing that calls about kids swallowing borax were becoming more frequent.”I guess with the internet, things move quickly so those recipes would be available everywhere.”
NSW Poisons Information Centre spokeswoman Genevieve Adamo said children should also be careful not to let the borax come in contact with their skin – especially broken skin – with recommendations to use gloves when making the popular slime.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of calls relating to slime and borax,” Ms Adamo told The Daily Telegraph. She said that parents and carers should also be vigilant about how and where their slime ingredients are stored.
“Borax is a potential poison and we’d like people to be aware of its potential for harm; it should be locked away, preferably in a locked cupboard high up.”
While a nibble of homemade slime is unlikely to do any harm, having the raw ingredients on hand could be courting disaster.
“We’re obviously concerned about the stage where children are making the product,” Carol warned. “They’ve got access to a concentrated product and concentrated borax. In its pure form as a powder, is quite dangerous and there are reports of toxicity and historically there have been deaths from borax.”
Side effects of ingesting borax include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea – and in rare cases it can be fatal.
Carol hopes that parents will consider slime-making with a critical eye on safety, rather than giving up on the fun.
“There are other recipes out there that may have other ingredients that are less concerning,” she said.
You can call the Poisons Helpline – on 13 11 26 – if you’re worried about your child swallowing something they shouldn’t have.