Slime toy contains four times the EU limit for boron
Hamleys has taken one brand of slime toy off its shelves after it failed safety tests carried out by Which?
Hamleys has pulled a brand of children's slime toy after it failed safety tests carried out by consumer group Which?. The toy shop has suspended sales of Frootiputti, made by Goobands, while it investigates further after testing found it to contain four times the EU limit for boron.
Frootiputti wasn't the only slime toy to fail, though. Which? carried out tests on 13 different slime toys in total and six of those failed due to their levels of boron. Some of those that failed were:
- HGL Ghostbusters Green Slime
- Me Life TicTock fluffy pink slime
- JexyBox Glossy Slime (now being removed from eBay)
- Essenson DIY Slime Kit in yellow, purple, red and green
- Zuru Oosh Fun Foam putty
There is also debate about whether some of the products should be labelled as slime or putty. The permitted amount of boron in putty is much higher than that in slime, at 1200mg/kg compared to 300mg/kg.
Speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson for H Grossman said: “Consumers can see the reports from several independent accredited laboratories which confirm that this product is technically a 'putty' and that the levels of all elements are well within safety standards. It is regrettable that a consumer magazine has made an entirely untrue allegation without producing scientific support.”
Amazon has followed Hamleys' lead and stopped selling those products that failed the Which? tests, while Argos is yet to make a decision as it investigates the findings.
Which? said: "Parents should have confidence that the products that they buy for their children will be safe, but our latest investigation has uncovered harmful products being sold even by big retailers.
“Again, we're calling on manufacturers to stop making unsafe products, and for the government and retailers to step up and do a much better job of ensuring only safe products get into people's homes and into the hands of children.”
These are not the first tests to be carried out by Which?, either. In July this year, the consumer group found that a number of brands of slime toys contained dangerous levels of boron, which can cause vomiting and affect fertility. A highly alkaline household cleaner, boron is a common ingredient in slime because it helps to create stickiness.
Exposure to excessive levels of the chemical can cause irritation, diarrhoea, vomiting and cramping. High levels can also impair fertility and cause harm to unborn babies in pregnant women, according to the European Commission.
Eight out of the 11 products tested earlier this year exceeded the EU safety limit of 300mg/kg, and can be seen below in red.
The worst product, Toysmith Jupiter Juice, had more than four times the permitted level of boron. Eight of the products which contained potentially unsafe levels of boron were purchased on Amazon. They have since been removed from sale.
Two high street retailers, The Works and Smyths, both sell slime that was found to be within the safety limit when tested.
Nikki Stopford, Director of Research and Publishing at Which?, said:
''If you have school-age kids, you're probably very well aware of the latest slime craze sweeping the playgrounds. Kids love it.
Parents buying slime for their children should have peace of mind that these toys are safe, so they will be shocked to find that the health of their children could be put at risk by these slimes.''
Which? was particularly concerned that not only do many slime products contain minimal safety labelling and information about the ingredients, some of the brands tested self-certified their packaging to indicate that the products were safe, despite the fact that the levels of boron were too high.
''There must be fundamental changes to the product safety system,'' added Ms Stopford.
''Manufacturers must stop making unsafe products and the government and retailers simply have to do a far better job of getting anything identified as a risk off the shelves and out of people's homes.''
In response to the findings, Amazon said: “All Marketplace sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available."
Some parents have chosen to make their own slime, but that can also be dangerous.
Last year an 11-year-old from Massachusetts reportedly developed third-degree burns while mixing together the ingredients. Another parent on Facebook said that her daughter also suffered similar injuries after using boron. There are, however, many alternative recipes for slime which don't contain boron.
WikiHow's How to Make Slime Without Borax lists four different recipes, using ingredients such as cornflour and condensed milk to create the same texture.