Eight out of 11 slimes tested – all from Amazon – failed to meet permitted boron levels, while slime from Smyths and The Works was deemed completely safe.
Online retailer Amazon is facing criticism yet again after research carried out by the consumer watchdog Which? revealed that it is selling slime that exceeds the limits for boron specified in the EU safety standard.
Exposure to excessive levels of the element can cause irritation, diarrhea, vomiting and cramps in the short term, while exposure to very high levels of boron may also impair fertility and could cause harm to an unborn child in pregnant women.
Which? said that the eight products that failed the tests, out of 11 tested overall, were purchased on Amazon. The products which did not meet the standard have now been removed from the website. It is unknown how many unsafe slime products Amazon had already sold before taking the listings down.
An Amazon spokesman 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.”
Only one slime bought from Amazon met the limits for boron.
Unsurprisingly, Slime from high street retailers The Works and Smyths passed the tests and were deemed safe by Which?, reinforcing the high standards of product safety and testing standards adhered to by Britain’s independent and high-street toy retailers.
The slime purchased from The Works was Goopy Slime from H. Grossman. The company’s managing director Martin Grossman commented: “I am not at all surprised by these results – there are lots of unsafe products out there. We make sure that our slime and putty is of a high standard, good quality and good play value.”
It’s not the first time Amazon has been found to be selling unsafe or unsuitable products. In January, the online platform removed several magnetic putty products after tests showed they contained dangerously high levels of arsenic.
Nikki Stopford, director of research and publishing at Which?, commented: “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. There must be fundamental changes to the product safety system. 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.”
BTHA spokeswoman Natasha Crookes added: “There are a large number of substances that are restricted from being used in toys for safety reasons. Borax is one of those and it is worrying to see so many failing safety tests. Our advice would be to look for reputable toy makers and retailers. Members of the BTHA can be found on our website and when looking for toy retailers, try to visit retailers you recognise or look for the name behind the online brand – look at the reviews of sellers, do they have a track record in selling toys and if something looks too good to be true (particularly on price), it probably is.”
None of the slime toys that failed to meet the EU safety directive were made by BTHA members, she added.