ISSAQUAH -- If you have a middle-school-aged child in the house, there's a good chance you also have slime. Making slime is so popular, craft stores can't keep all the ingredients on the shelves. But there are health concerns that come with the project.
Twelve-year old Jordyn Hirsch is a slime chef. For the uninitiated, slime is a doughy ball of putty made primarily with school glue, water and borax. Jordyn adds other ingredients to make her slime softer, stretchier, clear or colored. Her newest recipe aims to make slime safer by using saline solution instead of borax.
"I've heard things that borax is bad for you if you use too much of it, and so I was trying to find an alternate activator that would still make good slime," Jordyn said.
The borax warning came after Jordyn was featured in a Wall Street Journal article about the popularity of slime. Her mother, Randi Hirsch, said the family heard from people all over the country. While most thought it was great, "a friend of mine from North Carolina sent me a text saying 'Uh oh, maybe Jordyn needs to stop making slime,'" Randi said. Jordyn has made more than 100 batches of slime and hasn't suffered any health problems.
The borax label states it's not for children, and other slime creators have complained about eye and skin irritation or coughing and congestion.
Dr. Elizabeth Meade is a pediatrician at Swedish Medical Center. She said borax can cause chemical irritation. "Once it's made, the skin contact of playing with it is unlikely to have significant effects," Meade said. "But when you're making it, if you breathe in the dust or it gets in your mucus membranes, your eyes or your mouth or your nose, then we would worry a little bit about the effects it might have."
Bottom line, if you or your child has cold-like symptoms after making slime, stop using borax and see a doctor. And younger children, who might be tempted to taste it, should be kept away entirely.