Allergy to slime

It’s not often that the ‘quirkier’ scientific papers or case studies published regarding methylisothiazolinone or other related preservatives make it into the mainstream media.

So when this paper was published in Pediatric Dermatology in January, reporting on the case of a child reacting to MI / MCI in a glue used to make a homemade ‘slime’ — which was delightfully described as being “all the rage among tweens” — I thought it was interesting, and shared it, but didn’t think much more about it. 

And yet, a couple of months on, here is coverage of that case in KTSP, which is the Upper Midwest’s first commercial television station. 

Just a few months previously, there had also been a paper published in the Journal of Pediatrics, entitled Slime May Not Be So Benign, which highlighted the problem of potential contact allergens in various slime preparations, not just MI / MCI, but also sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol and fragrances. 

Slime monster?

It also looks like this is another new paper, this time in the journal Contact Dermatitis, with several examples of kids reacting to MI / MCI in slime. 

In the UK, the issue of borax in slime has also been raised as a matter of concern, and I’m sure in the US too. 

As, I must confess, ‘slime’ is a whole new world to me, I’m very glad that the KTSP piece links to some glue-free slime recipes at the foot — as well as mentions the excellent Methylisothiazolinone Victims Facebook group, and the Living with Methylisothiazolinone Allergy book, which I’m particularly pleased about. 

What these published scientific papers show is that this is clearly a serious issue, which certainly deserves wider airing and discussion. Young hands are more delicate, the skin is thinner, and the risk of sensitisation to all allergens is higher. Should kids be wearing protection or gloves when handling these materials, especially for extended periods? 

If anyone knows of any commercially available slimes which are safely isothiazolinone-free, and preferably low in other known problematic allergens, do let me know and I’ll add to this page as an ongoing resource. Meanwhile, I shall try to find some in both the UK and US … 

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