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Nearly half of slime toys contain unsafe level of toxic chemical, research finds



Nearly half of children’s slime toys failed the EU safety limit for the presence of a potentially harmful chemical, research found.

The consumer association Which? tested 13 products from a range of high street and online retailers.

Five failed the limit for the chemical element boron in toys, while another product classified as a putty also failed.

Boron is found in borax, a common ingredient in slime that helps to create its stickiness.

Over-exposure to the chemical can cause skin irritation, diarrhoea, vomiting and cramps in the short-term.

Contact with very high levels of boron may also impair fertility and could cause harm to an unborn child in pregnant women, according to the European Commission.

The EU safety limit is 300mg/kg for slime and 1200mg/kg for putty.

Slime toys are gloopy sticky substances that can be pulled and twisted into different shapes.

The products are likely to be popular choices for children as Christmas presents.

TicTock Fluffy Slime was one of the products that failed the Which? test. Pic: ME. Amazon/ME Life
TicTock Fluffy Slime was one of the products that failed the Which? test. Pic: ME. Amazon/ME Life

Slime and putty products that failed the Which? test

:: Frootiputti, produced by Goobands and for sale in Hamleys, had four times the permitted limit for slime.

:: HGL’s Ghostbusters slime, which can be bought in Smyths Toys Superstores, had more than three times the limit.

:: Fun Foam, made by Zuru Oosh and sold by Argos, exceeded the limit for putty by 500mg/kg.

:: The DIY Slime Kit, made by Essenson and available from Amazon, contained a purple slime that had four-and-a-half times the legal level of boron.

:: Jexybox 30z Glossy Slime in pink, sold by eBay, and ME Life TicTock Fluffy Slime in pink, sold by Amazon, also exceeded the EU safety standard for boron.

The DIY Slime Kit made by Essenon exceeded the safety limit for boron. Pic: Amazon/Essenon
The DIY Slime Kit made by Essenon exceeded the safety limit for boron. Pic: Amazon/Essenon

Which? said Goobands and HGL had disagreed with its categorisation of their products as slime and argue that their products are actually putty and therefore pass the EU standard.

Earlier this year Which? found that eight out of 11 toy slime products tested exceeded the limit.

The consumer body was concerned some of the goods were making it on to shelves because they were being marketed as putty instead of slime.

It also raised concerns that manufacturers were left to self-certify the safety of their products, finding that slimes were displaying a CE mark suggesting the product was safe despite boron levels being too high when tested by Which?.

The watchdog said it had informed manufacturers and retailers about its findings and asked that the products be removed from sale.

Frootiputti was found to exceed the safe limit of born. Pic: Goobands/My Diffability
Frootiputti was found to exceed the safe limit of boron. Pic: Goobands/My Diffability

It suggested that anyone who owns one of the slimes that failed its testing “may wish to return it to the retailer and ask for a refund”.

Which? has also passed its findings to the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS), saying it believed more must be done by the government and retailers to identify the products and stop them from reaching people’s homes.

Nikki Stopford, director of research and publishing at Which?, said: “Slime will feature in many kids’ letters to Santa this Christmas, however we’ve found more worrying evidence that children could be put at risk by these toys.

“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.”

Hamleys said: “Ensuring the safety and trust of our customers is one of our core values as a business and we will never compromise on the safety of our products.

“We work closely with our suppliers and manufacturers to ensure all products meet the legal standards for toy safety.

“As a precautionary measure, we have made the decision to remove all Goobands Frootiputti from our stores while we investigate this matter further.”

An Amazon spokesman said: “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.”

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