If you have kids, or even know a few, you have probably heard about the DIY home craft of making slime. There are multiple recipes for the oooey gooey clay-like stuff from those that include glitter to those that are edible. Slime making at home has become some popular that some stores are running out of the white school glue that is used in making some versions. Major manufacturer Elmer's has stated they will be ramping up production. Is this slime safe for your children to play with though? Initially there were concerns, but knowing a little basic chemistry is key.
One of the most popular recipes for slime includes the household cleaner Borax. Combining it with glue, warm water and food coloring yields a very slippery batch of slime. Parents became concerned however when bloggers and others sounded the alarm on slime saying it contained boric acid, but it actually doesn't. Borax and boric acid are not the same compound; borax is a salt of boric acid. The less common chemical names of the substances make it clear that these are two entirely different chemical compounds; borax is sodium borate, while boric acid is hydrogen borate. Because both compounds share a use as relatively safe chemical insecticides, their names are often used interchangeably in layman's terms. There were other concerns about glue, but the white school glue called for in the basic recipe is non-toxic. There are also plenty of recipes that do not contain the soap powder borax, so feel free to let the slime flow.