Monday, March 27, 2017

Chemical Reactions and the Homemade Slime Scare

I have kept quiet about the whole homemade slime dangers until now. Everyone assumes that the problems with the homemade slime has been with the borax. After watching a video from a news channel where the child had received chemical burns from her homemade slime I had to speak out. Her doctors suspect that it was the borax. Considering that I have been using a solution of borax to neutralize my homemade liquid soap, I just had to do some more research.  Borax is used in several products as a buffer.

No one ever considers that the problem might be the chemical reaction. After all, the whole homemade slime experiment is a chemical reaction. You take a PVA glue (Polyvinyl Acetate) and adding a solution of borax. PVA reacts to the boron components in borax in a predictable way causing the PVA to become similar to rubber. The chemical reaction also happens to convert the PVA to polyvinyl alcohol and acetic acid.

Most recipes I see online are almost always in volume. Teaching myself how to get consistent result to my own crafting, I learned long ago to use a good scale to weigh my formulas. Did anyone ever consider that something went wrong in the measuring? What happens when you add more on one ingredient than another?

People, chemicals put together make something else altogether. So while PVA glue may be safe and borax when used in the appropriate manner may be safe, what happens when the formula for slime is not followed exactly as it should be? What is the resulting chemically reaction that is the cause for the problems that have been showing up.

Is slime made with borax the problem? I don’t know. I just wish more scientific facts went into the warnings rather than hysteria. I have read the Material Safety Data Sheet on borax. Which is why I ended up using it in my liquid soap neutralizations. I need to do more research for my own edification. I just wish more people would do their own research before jumping into these bandwagons.

For the record, I have never made slime. When I was very small my father gave me a whole bunch of slime which I didn’t know what to do with. I have never seen the appeal of slime, though my daughter does love playing with it. I just had a problem with the pointing of fingers at borax with no real facts that it was the cause of the burning. I recommend caution, parental guidance, and lots of research.

*P.S. Also note that many also add food coloring and glitter. Craft glitter is NOT skin safe. All the glitter in my soaps and lotions are cosmetic grade glitter. How will the craft glitter react when exposed to polyvinyl alcohol? Food coloring may be safe to ingest, but that doesn't also mean it is skin safe. Think about applying a jalapeno to your skin as opposed to eating them. Many hobby stores have colorants and glitter made for melt and pour soaps.