Since the 1950’s when it was first invented, Play-Doh has been a staple in homes, daycares, and schools across the country. Hasbro, the manufacturer of Play-Doh, claims it to be non-toxic, but a closer look at its ingredients may have you second guessing its safety for your children. According to Hasbro’s website: “the exact ingredients of PLAY-DOH compound are proprietary, so we cannot share them with you. We can tell you that it is primarily a mixture of water, salt and flour.” (source)
While the primary ingredients that Hasbro shares with the general public are non-toxic, their current US Patent lists several more ingredients including preservatives, fragrance, petroleum (to make the Play-Doh feel smooth), and borax (prevents mold growth). Borax is the additive that disheartens me the most. The Environmental Working Group put out a great article in 2011 discussing the dangers of using Borax. Recently, they gave it a rating of “F” on their website mostly due to its developmental and reproductive system toxicity.
It’s one thing for your children to simply touch Play-Doh and then immediately wash their hands afterwards, but we know that is not how most children operate. I can practically still taste the salty Play-Doh from when I was a child, my green pancake and red french fry creations were just too irresistible to not taste. Kids explore the world with their hands and mouths, so shouldn’t they have something more natural and safe to play with? For the older children who use Play-Doh and aren’t likely to eat it, Borax is a known skin irritant and may cause allergic reactions.
Cooks.com has a no-bake play-doh recipe that is safe for those curious kids of yours who may decide to sample their play-doh creations. The recipe is so easy, you could even turn making their play-doh into an activity to do together!
1 cup water
3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
1/4 cup oil
Combine ingredients in a bowl, mixing well. Add small amounts of flour until desired consistency is achieved. Store in a plastic zip-loc bag!
By Courtney Perry