You see them all the time on your Facebook news feed – DIY, FYI and “how to” videos showing you yummy recipes, unique activities and places you never knew existed and cool crafts to try at home.
But as 11-year-old Kathleen Quinn from Rockland, Mass., found out, the information you’re getting from these videos may not actually be safe and could pose serious risks.
Last week Quinn was concocting a “slime” from ingredients she had seen on a viral video when her hands began to feel “really hot and tingly” while at a sleepover, CBS News reports.
When she told her parents, they noticed the skin on her hands was turning red and beginning to blister. They immediately drove her to the hospital.
“She was like crying in pain, ‘My hands hurt, my hands hurt,’” Siobham Quinn, Kathleen’s mom, told CBS News. “And we looked at them and they were covered in blisters.”
As it turns out, Quinn’s hands were covered in second- and third-degree burns.
Doctors say the burns were the result of extended exposure to a chemical called borax – also known as boric acid – which is one of three ingredients used to make the slime (Elmer’s glue and water are the other ingredients), according to WCMH-TV Columbus.
Quinn’s parents say she is experiencing extreme pain, but is expected to make a full recovery.
Last year Health Canada issued a warning advising Canadians not to use boric acid in homemade craft and pesticide recipes.
According to the agency, boric acid is found in the environment and people are exposed to it naturally through food (like fruits and vegetables) and drinking water. It can also be found in cleaning products, cosmetics, swimming pool and spa chemicals, drugs and natural health products.
However, a Health Canada risk assessment concluded that overexposure to boric acid has the potential to cause developmental and reproductive health effects. But because boric acid is found in our diets and water, the agency wants Canadians to limit their exposure to other sources – like cleaning products – as much as possible.
The U.S. National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also says contact with boric acid can be corrosive to the eye and cause irritation to the skin. Being in contact with extreme amounts (often by ingestion) can result in a red and blistering rash and skin loss.