A Warning About the Dangers of Homemade Slime

A mother whose 12-year-old daughter became very ill after making and playing with homemade “slime” is warning other parents about the dangers of this popular kids activity.

Carolyn West, a stay-at-home mom who blogs at “This Talk Ain’t Cheap,” wrote that she doesn’t want what happened to her daughter Lauryn to happen to anyone else. She explained that her daughter and her friends became “obsessed” with slime a few months ago and started mixing up batches of it at home. Shortly thereafter, her daughter began to experience health problems:

We are a pretty healthy family. We get our flu shots each year and my kids have never had strep or flu or bronchial illnesses. They have never had more than your basic cold that lasted a few days. When my 12 year old got sick, we thought it was the same basic cold. Symptoms were the same: cough, sore throat, stuffy nose. She was also complaining about headaches and general achiness. Assuming her symptoms would be relieved in a few days, we didn’t pay them much mind. Unfortunately, they didn’t go away. At all. Weeks later, we were still left wondering what on earth was going on. To the doctor we went. We had her take a throat culture, check her lungs, and ears and sinuses. She found nothing. Other than your basic cold symptoms, there wasn’t anything wrong with her on the surface.

West, who admits she’s not a chemist, doctor, or scientist, said she felt like something more was going on. “You know how as a parent you just kind of the get the feeling that there is more to something than meets the eye?” she wrote. “My husband was actually the one who connected the dots. He told me one night, ‘Do you think it could have something to do with the slime she’s been making?'”Suddenly, it began to make sense. “We banned her from making, holding, touching or even looking at that darn slime.”

Suddenly, it began to make sense. “We banned her from making, holding, touching or even looking at that darn slime.”

The very next day, West said, her daughter’s headache and sore throat went away. Two days later the congestion started clearing up and she was breathing and talking better, with no more achiness.

After doing some research, West discovered that school and health experts in the European Union have been warning about the dangers of homemade slime because of one of the main ingredients, borax.

She went on to list the ingredients in the slime her daughter had been making—glue, borax, and shaving cream—along with some of the health hazards that can be associated with those ingredients.

“Can I ever be 100% sure that the homemade slime ingredients were causing my daughter’s illness?” West asked. “Probably not. But… one thing I’ve learned in 17 years of parenting is never to ignore your gut instinct…and ours said that making slime was hurting our kid.”

She warned other parents to be informed about the potential dangers of slime. “What seemed so innocent turned out to be full of ingredients that are deadly. So even though these ingredients might have really had nothing to do with Lauryn being sick, the fact remains that these ingredients are dangerous and have no business being in the hands of children. Or anyone.”

A mom in the comments section noted that her family experienced similar issues with slime. “My daughters have been constantly making and playing with slime using the recipe you mentioned. My youngest has had the exact symptoms you mentioned for a month.”

A couple of parents also pointed out that slime is a breeding ground for germs because it gets passed around from child to child, and the slime itself is a fertile environment for bacteria. One father wrote, “My son did a science experiment growing bacteria. The highest bacteria levels he found were on cell phones and in slime he and his siblings had played with. It gets passed around and is a warm, moist environment, perfect for germs. Ew.”

“Ew” is right! This slime craze is a lot of fun and it’s a great way for kids to learn science as they experiment with the cool recipes and funky colors. Most kids can probably play with and even make slime without getting sick, but parents need to supervise closely and monitor their children for chemical sensitivities and signs of illness.

Looking for some recipes for slime without borax? We’ve got you covered!

Cornstarch Slime

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (350ml) of water
  • 3 to 4 drops of food coloring
  • 2 cups cornstarch

Heat 1 cup (250 ml) water in a small saucepan until warm but not hot or boiling. (If it’s too hot you won’t be able to use your hands to mix the slime.) You can microwave the water for 45 seconds to 1 minute in a microwave-safe bowl if you don’t want to use the stove.

Add three to four drops of green food coloring (or any other color you like) until the water is a shade darker than you want your slime to be. Mix well with a spoon.

Next, measure two cups of cornstarch into a bowl. Slowly pour colored water into the bowl with the cornstarch. Mix the ingredients together with your fingers. Blend thoroughly until the mixture is the consistency of a thick paste.

You can add more cornstarch if your slime is too thin or more water from your pan if the mixture is too thick. Adjust until your slime is a consistency you like. You should be able to put your fingers into the mixture easily and your fingers should feel dry when you remove them from the slime.

Place in a plastic bag and seal to keep your slime fresh. 

Edible Slime

  • 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 Tablespoon (14 grams) of cornstarch
  • 10-15 drops of food coloring

Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk into a saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened.

Remove mixture from the heat and add the food coloring until desired color is reached. Once slime has cooled, play with it (or eat it!). Note: may stain clothing or carpeting. 

Regular Slime

  • Elmer’s glue
  • Contact solution
  • Food coloring/Paint
  • Lotion (optional)

First, mix a large amount of contact solution into the glue. Stir well. Reach in and take it out, start playing with it. It will be very sticky, but eventually, it will come to together and be similar to rubber. To add coloring, just mix some food dye or. Add lotion to make it more stretchy. Another recipe calls for adding Dawn soap to the mixture, so you might want to experiment to see what works best.

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