Exposures associated with making or playing with viscoelastic polymer toys known as Slime: a retrospective case series from French Poison Control Centres

Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2020 Jun;58(6):482-487. doi: 10.1080/15563650.2019.1657144. Epub 2019 Sep 1.


Context: Slime is a slow-flowing material with viscoelastic properties which is attractive to children. Its preparation is based on the crosslinking of polyvinyl alcohol, polyvinyl acetate or starch with boric acid.Objectives: The goal of this study was to describe the adverse effects of Slime.Materials and methods: This is a descriptive retrospective study of cases of exposure reported to French Poison Control Centres between January 2014 and May 2018. The following parameters were used: age and sex, date and circumstances of exposure, symptoms and severity.Results: Two hundred and eight (208) cases of exposure were recorded, 93 cases happened in 2017, and 88 cases in the first four and a half months of 2018. The average age was of 8 years old; 190 patients were younger than 15. Fifty-seven percent (57%) were female. Regarding routes of exposure, 168 were oral, 30 cutaneous, eight ocular, one inhalation and one ear exposure. Eighty-two (82) patients were symptomatic, including 81 cases of low severity and one of average severity (keratitis). All cases lead to recovery.Conclusion: No significant adverse health effects are expected to develop if only small amounts are swallowed; making Slime with home ingredients is a potential cause of boric acid exposure that must be supervised by adults.

Keywords: Slime; child; dermatitis contact; play and playthings; poisoning.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Databases, Factual
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology*
  • Female
  • France
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Play and Playthings*
  • Poison Control Centers*
  • Polymers / poisoning*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Viscoelastic Substances / poisoning*


  • Polymers
  • Viscoelastic Substances