Advocacy Toxic Toys

Group Urges Government to Test Slime Toys for Boron Content

23 September 2019, Quezon City. A non-profit group tracking harmful chemicals in children’s toys has requested the health authorities to analyze slime toys for boron, which is classified as “reprotoxic” or a substance that can interfere with normal reproduction.

Through a letter sent today to the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, the EcoWaste Coalition urged either the DOH or the FDA to test slime toys for boron, an element with chemical symbol B and atomic number 5.

Boron is added to slime toys to give them their gelatinous texture. Boric acid, in particular, is on the European Union’s “candidate list” of substances of very high concern (SVHC) because it is “toxic for reproduction.”

“We urge the DOH and/or FDA to embark on post-marketing surveillance targeting slime toys being sold in licensed commercial establishments, general merchandise and toy stores, and in online shopping platforms and have them analyzed for boron,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We make this suggestion after a spate of notifications from other governments against slime toys containing high levels of boron caught our attention. Exposure to excessive amounts of borax and boric acid can cause health problems from irritation, diarrhea, nausea and cramps to reproductive disorders,” he said.

The group cited the notifications issued in August – September 2019 by regulatory agencies in Finland, Germany, Hungary and Luxembourg against slime toys containing high concentrations of boron.

According to the notifications, which are posted in the European Union’s Rapid Alert System: “The migration of boron from the toy slime is too high. Ingestion or contact with an excessive quantity of boron may harm the health of children by damaging the reproductive system.”

The group further cited product recalls in Canada this September for slime toys that do not meet the country’s toy safety requirements in relation to boric acid.

According to Health Canada: “Boric acid can be toxic to children if licked or swallowed. Children are more sensitive to boric acid toxicity than adults. High levels of boric acid ingestion may have long-term effects on a child’s development and their future reproductive health.”

Based on the EcoWaste Coalition’s market monitoring on September 22, slime toys, which are quite popular among young children. are widely available in formal and informal toy stores from as low as P5 per unit.

Out of the 25 slime toys that the group bought from retailers in Paco and Sta. Ana, Manila, 12 products were found to be partially labeled and 13 were totally unlabeled.

Only one product lists its ingredients, and not even one contains information about the product’s manufacturer, importer or distributor, the group observed.

“Health authorities should have these slime toys tested for boron to determine if they are safe for children to play with,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.