With toy slimes sure to be on many children’s Christmas wish lists, Which? tested 13 products from a range of high street and online retailers, and found almost half failed the EU safety standard limit for boron in toys.
Following Which?’s investigation earlier this year that found almost all the slime toys it tested from Amazon posed a health risk, the consumer champion has now turned the spotlight onto products sold by some of Britain’s biggest retailers.
Five of the slimes tested, including those bought from Hamleys and Smyths Toys Superstores, failed the EU safety standard limit for boron in toys. A further product bought from Argos, which is classified as putty, also failed.
Boron is found in borax, a common ingredient in slime that helps to create its stickiness. The EU safety limit is 300mg/kg for slime and 1200mg/kg for putty.
Over-exposure can cause skin irritation, diarrhoea, vomiting and cramps in the short term. According to the European Commission, exposure to very high levels of boron may also impair fertility and could cause harm to an unborn child in pregnant women.
Frootiputti, produced by Goobands and for sale in Hamley’s, had four times the permitted limit. HGL’s Ghostbusters slime, which can be bought in Smyths Toys Superstores, had more than three times the limit. Both manufacturers have disagreed with Which?’s categorisation of their products as slime. They both argue that their products are actually putty and therefore pass the EU standard.
Fun foam, made by Zuru Oosh and sold by Argos, is classified as putty. With a level of 1700mg/kg, it also failed the testing, as it exceeded the 1200mg/kg limit.
The DIY Slime Kit, made by Essenson and available from Amazon, contained a purple slime that had four and half times the legal level of boron.
The latest results follow a previous Which? investigation in July that found eight out of 11 toy slime products tested exceeded the EU safety limit.
Which? has concerns that some of the slimes that have been tested are making it on to market because they are being marketed as putty instead of slime. This means that the products are permitted to contain significantly higher levels of boron, despite being declared slime in Which?’s laboratory testing.
In addition, manufacturers are left to self-certify the safety of their products. However, Which? has again discovered that slimes are displaying a CE mark suggesting the product is safe, despite the fact that the boron levels were too high when tested by Which?.
As a result, Which? believes that stronger oversight of toy safety is required and an independent body is required to ensure that they are not left to mark their own homework.
The consumer champion has informed manufacturers and retailers about the results, asking for them to be removed from sale. Anyone who owns one of the slimes that failed Which?’s 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). The latest results compound worries about the widespread availability of potentially unsafe products. The consumer champion believes more must be done by the Government and retailers to proactively identify these 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.”
Notes to eds
|Retailer||Supplier||Sample name (colour of sample tested)||Level (mg/kg)|
|Amazon (Bargains Galore)||Out of the Blue||Crazy Slime (slime)||110|
|Argos||Zuru Oosh||Slime (green)||270|
|Etsy||Miffy Slimes||Peach Snowball (peach)||280|
|Argos||Orb Slimey||Elasti Plasti (pink)||280|
|Hamleys||Tobar||XL Neon Slime (yellow)||290|
|eBay||Jexybox||30z Glossy Slime (pink)||550|
|Smyths Toys Superstores||HGL||Ghostbusters slime (green)||950|
|Amazon||ME Life||TicTock fluffy slime (pink)||970|
|Amazon||Essenson||DIY Slime Kit (Purple, yellow, red, green)||Purple 1400mg/kg, yellow 1300mg/kg, red 980mg/kg, green 990mg/kg|
|Retailer||Supplier||Sample name (colour of sample tested)||Level (mg/kg)|
|Argos||Zuru Oosh Fun Foam||Putty Unicorn Poop (multi)||140|
|Etsy||Slime Marshmallows||Peaches & Cream (pink)||660|
|Argos||Zuru Oosh||Fun Foam (green)||1700|
- Red indicates that the slime and putty products exceeded the EU safety limit of 300mg/kg, and 1200mg/kg respectively, in Which?’s tests. All of those products carried CE certification.
- Slimes were selected according to a series of criteria, including:
o The most common and popular slimes available at major children’s toy retailers (products tested may be available from other retailers in addition to those mentioned)
o Highly recommend slimes on Instagram and YouTube
o Popularity rankings on Amazon Prime
2. Right of Replies
“We have taken all the slimes we were selling off eBay.”
HGL commissioned independent laboratory tests in response to the findings from Which?. The Which? laboratory test classified it as slime. Under HGL’s tests, the product was classified as putty rather than slime. When classified as putty, it passes the EU safety standard limit. Which? stands by the results of its laboratory testing.
“Our product passes EN71 without any issues. H Grossman Ltd is a responsible and safety conscious company with 73 years of experience.”
Keycraft Global (Goobands)
Keycraft Global commissioned independent laboratory tests in response to the findings from Which?. The Which? laboratory test classified it as slime. Under Keycraft Global’s tests, the product was classified as putty rather than slime. When classified as putty, it passes the EU safety standard limit. Which? stands by the results of its laboratory testing.
“This product has been tested at two separate independent globally accredited testing houses and deemed to be a ‘putty’ not a slime, and therefore compliant with the relevant standards.”
“The safety of the products we sell is extremely important to us. We haven’t received any complaints but we’re in close contact with our supplier, Zuru, while they investigate.”
“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.”
“Children’s safety is our first priority. ‘Ghostbuster Slime’ was supplied to us by the UK distributor H Grossman who have provided us with test results which indicate that the product is within safety limits. We understand that they have also provided you with these results from an accredited independent laboratory.
“We want to ensure that consumers are fully informed and that the highest safety standards are followed. The only solid information we have at this point is that provided from a reputable laboratory which indicates that such standards are being met.”
“The safety of our customers is our number one priority and our listings policy is designed to protect customers first and foremost. We work with regulators to ensure that all listings comply with the law and there are blocks in place to prevent the listing of illegal items. We constantly monitor our marketplace to enforce this.”
“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.”