Yes, the willful wee ones should not be allowed to consume the slime, but adults who have eaten caviar from Russia or Iran have already consumed borax (containing elemental boron), and appear to enjoy it in ever increasing quantities.
Even when applying an abundance of caution, I cannot imagine that it is right for the BBC to set off a panic amongst uninformed parents about the slime their kids have already handled, unless the claims of toxicity have been established for both the slime precursor AND the slime itself.
The BBC is not the source of this concern; the British tabloid press has been raising this alarm, in a less balanced way for about a year.I'm not sure that consulting a chemist is the appropriate approach for the average member of the public; I believe that this is a medical question rather than a chemical one. I'm not sure that the press understands the difference, though; sometimes it seems that they think anyone with a lab coat can answer a health question...The responsible thing to do is to consult a chemist before making too wild claims in the press.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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