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Is Slime Bad for the Environment? (Say No to Slime Videos)

One of the most popular toys, Slime is probably known by most kids and adults worldwide. This toy was introduced way back in 1976. This toy gives kids messy play and a lot of fun; they usually play together with styrofoam beads.

This product is still being sold on the market. Most slime videos say that this product is known to be non-toxic and safe for kids.

But do we know if it causes any harm to the environment? Is slime bad for the environment?

What is slime?

Playing Slime with Glitters

Slime is a toy that looks and feels like the ooze and goo of real slime. This toy is made of polymer, borax, and water. It has a unique feeling when touched because it contains glycerin which is extendable by adding either corn syrup or Vaseline.

It also contains polysaccharide guar gum and sodium tetraborate. Usually, this product is found in slime balls, but sometimes, you can also find it in liquid.

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What is polysaccharide guar gum?

Polysaccharide guar gum is a powder extracted from a certain Indian bean. This powder has a unique adhesive feature where it can stick to the wall.

In slime, the polysaccharide guar gum is a thickening agent that can hold water together well. In addition, this also gives the slime a stretchy and gooey feel.

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What is sodium tetraborate?

Sodium Tetraborate is a colorless borax crystal that can be dissolved in water. In slime, this ingredient serves as a hardener and thickening agent. In addition to this, Borax also has its benefits such as being an important element in laundry detergent, enamel glaze for fireproofing, and even a preservative for apple cider.

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How can borax/sodium tetraborate cause harm to the environment?

Borax is known to have a chemical formula of Na2B4O7· 10 H2O or simply 4Na2B4O7 + 7H2O. Borax may be a common substance, but it can also cause harm to the environment. This substance is hazardous if not handled or disposed of properly.

Borax can kill plants and pollute water sources because of its high boron content, which can also harm humans.

Although this product has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a natural herbicide and pesticide, this substance is categorized as Harmful to Environment, Biodiversity, and Humans by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Why can borax/sodium tetraborate be harmful to humans?

Borax has been known to contain acute toxicity, which means that high doses of this product can be harmful. Ingestion of Borax is the primary cause of toxicity in humans, which means that this product may cause muscular pains and cramps when it comes into contact with your skin.

Borax also contains a component called boric acid, which is poisonous. It can even cause death if you ingest it or get it in contact with your skin.

A derivative of sodium tetraborate pentahydrate, or simply borax, is used in many household products such as hand soaps, detergents, disinfectants, bleaches, and even food items.

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Is borax/sodium tetraborate harmful to animals?

Yes, this product is harmful to animals too. However, borax and its derivatives (like sodium tetraborate) can naturally occur in Mother Nature. However, when we extract these ingredients from the ground, we only get a small amount of boron and other minerals in their natural state, which means that most of them will end up as waste.

These waste products can be highly toxic to animals and humans because of their boron content. Even though these substances have some health benefits, keeping them at home is still not advisable as pets may lick or ingest these substances mistakenly as food, resulting in poisoning.

In addition, borax is toxic to aquatic organisms such as fish and amphibians. Its high boron content makes it difficult for water-living creatures to metabolize, thus causing death.

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What is the process of making slime?

Pink Slime with Beads and Glitters

Slime is made by mixing the polymer (polydimethylsiloxane) and other ingredients like borax and sodium tetraborate pentahydrate.

The combination of Polydimethylsiloxane and borax is what makes slime slimy, while sodium tetraborate serves as a stiffener to make the mixture dense. In addition, sodium tetraborate also gives that satisfying “squish” when you play with the slime.

The polysaccharide guar gum is a thickening agent in slime that can hold water together well. In addition, this also gives the slime a stretchy and gooey feel. Combining all these ingredients results in slime that has sticky properties and is soft but elastic.

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Is slime toy biodegradable?

Slime is not biodegradable because it contains only a small concentration of Borax and other ingredients. If it goes to a landfill, it will not decompose into simpler compounds naturally occurring in the environment.

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What are the side effects of slime use?

Although most online tutorial slime videos tell you that this substance is safe to handle, severe poisoning can occur if the slime comes into contact with your skin or mucous membranes.

If you accidentally swallow or drool some slime into your mouth, you may experience “slime burps” that smell like horse manure. Ingestion can also cause poisoning, leading to death if you ingest a large amount of slime.

Slime is also harmful if it comes into contact with the eyes, nostrils, and other sensitive body areas. It will give you a burning sensation because of its boron content, which can eventually lead to skin burns.

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What are the effects of slime on the environment?

Black Slime With Colorful Beads and Glitters

According to some scientists, slime is a non-biodegradable substance that can take years before returning to its initial form.

The components of this toy, such as borax and polysaccharide guar gum, should be disposed of properly so that the environment will not be harmed. But still, if the slime sticks on rocks or trees, these can take even up to 15 years to decompose.

Over time, slime can accumulate and cause harm to the environment, such as water pollution, because of its components. Some research explains that sodium tetraborate has been confirmed to affect the growth of plants and algae in lakes and streams.

Now, this fact may not directly link to the slime, but extracting it from the ground can. Another study explains that polydimethylsiloxane is harmful because of its ability to mimic estrogen, which causes abnormalities in both shrimp and fish. Lastly, if you decide to wash your car with these substances, they will stick to the car’s surface, resulting in water pollution if disposed of improperly.

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Is it possible to make an eco-friendly slime?

Galaxy Inspired Slime

Slime is a great stress reliever, but making it from organic materials is best. If you want to be sure that there are no harmful substances in your slime, then avoid those products that contain borax and sodium tetraborate pentahydrate or derivatives of these chemicals. You can even use coconut oil instead of guar gum in making a homemade slime eco-friendly slime.

If you want to make more rubbery and elastic slime, you can use half a cup of liquid starch (corn starch) as your base ingredient. This becomes a good eco-friendly alternative since it won’t stick on the tree, unlike starch derived from corn or wheat.

You can also replace polysaccharide guar gum with konjac powder or glucomannan, natural polysaccharides. This will reduce the risk of diseases related to hormonal imbalance.

Lastly, you can use eco-friendly ingredients to make slime so it does not negatively affect the environment when washed down the drain or thrown in the trash.

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There are two inevitable problems with slime products: the byproducts of making them and the byproducts of using them. Using them irresponsibly causes surface and water pollution that can harm the environment due to their chemical contents.

Slime may be a great toy for kids, but we must take extra precautions if we want our children to enjoy it. Making homemade slime would be a great alternative.

By watching slime videos, you can learn about slime recipes. To make slime, you can use ingredients like food coloring, PVA glue, and cornstarch.

Not only will kids learn basic science by making an eco-friendly slime, but they can also have fun and learn how to be responsible and careful in taking care of our environment.


Are slimes environmentally friendly?

Is slime environmentally friendly? Slime can be both environmentally friendly and harmful, depending on the ingredients used to make it. Some slime recipes use natural and biodegradable materials like cornstarch and water, while others use chemicals and plastics that can harm the environment. It is important to read the labels and ingredients of slime products carefully to ensure they are safe for children and the environment.

Does slime pollute the environment?

Slime is a type of toy that is popular among children. It is typically made of glue and borax and sometimes contains other ingredients such as food coloring or glitter. Slime itself is not inherently harmful to the environment, but improper slime disposal can lead to pollution. When slime is thrown away or poured down the drain, it can contribute to clogs in pipes or harm aquatic life. Therefore, it is important to dispose of slime properly by throwing it away in the trash and not pouring it down the drain.

What happens to slime after use?

Slime is a gooey substance often used as a toy or stress reliever. After use, slime can become hard and lose its stretchy texture. If left out for too long, slime can also dry out and crumble. Proper storage in an airtight container can help extend the life of slime.

How sanitary is slime?

Slime is a non-sanitary substance that can harbor harmful bacteria and germs. Due to its sticky and porous nature, slime can easily collect dirt, dust, and other contaminants, making it an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. It is important to properly clean and store slime to prevent the growth and spread of harmful bacteria.

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