Modelling clay offers the children an unlimited play pleasure and stimulates, to the joy of the parents, the imagination of the little ones. But the moment the modelling clay reaches the children’s mouths, the parents start to think about the ingredients of the colourful mass. The consumer magazine Öko-Test has sent fifteen commercially available kneading mixes to the laboratory. In almost all of them questionable substances were found.

Only three kneaders scored “very good” with the test result. Harmful ingredients were found in twelve out of fifteen kneading masses tested. Eight of them are “satisfactory” and three are “inadequate”. One modelling clay even came off as “insufficient”.

Knead the world as you like it

The following modeling clays have passed the eco-test: “Creative Kids” by A.I. & E., “Kinder-Soft-Knete” by Jako-O and “Nawaro Soft” by Ökonorm. These are soft kneading materials which do not contain any questionable or controversial substances and no signs of aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). With the test result “very good” these are the only kneading products that Öko-Test can recommend.

Twelve kneading masses contain questionable substances

As early as 2013, Öko-Test was taking a close look at a number of commercially available kneading mixes. The pollutant test showed that two thirds of the tested products are “harmless”. After five years, the test was repeated. The result was much worse in 2018 than in 2013. For example, twelve kneading machines contained questionable substances. According to Stephan Kümmel, editor of Öko-Test, the dough has not deteriorated over the years. The bad result is due to the better analysis techniques. Using the new methods, the testers found aromatic mineral oil hydrocarbons (MOAH) in ten out of fifteen products tested.

Using modern analytical methods, the laboratory discovered for the first time the cancer-suspicious aniline pigment in a modeling clay. So far there is no legal limit for clay. Öko-Test takes a clear stance in this regard: “This substance does not belong in toys“.

In addition, two of the soft kneading compounds tested contained traces of formaldehyde. Both were rated “poor” by Öko-Test. If formaldehyde is taken in via the respiratory tract, according to the German consumer magazine Öko-Test, it is considered carcinogenic. Even if manufacturers do not exceed the limit value, Öko-Test is of the opinion: “Formaldehyde should be kept out of children’s products completely”.

Polluted modeling clay for the garbage?

Caraway advises parents not to leave the children unattended when playing with the modeling clay and to make sure that it is not swallowed. The toxins contained in MOAHs can be traced back to absorption via the digestive tract, not via the child’s skin. According to the test editor, each parent must decide for themselves whether the risk of their own child is too high for them. “Who wants to avoid the precarious MOAH, falls back for his children on one of the “very good” soft kneading tested by us”, says Kümmel.

Obligation to declare ingredients

“It is high time that manufacturers of plasticine finally have to declare the ingredients on the packaging,” demands the test editor. After all, the safety of children is at stake here, and parents must not be left in the dark, according to Kümmel. MOAH is in crude oil components, whether these were used should be clearly visible on the product. “This is the only way parents can decide for themselves what to give their children to knead,” says Stephan Kümmel.

Already in 2013 Öko-Test demanded that the legislator define clear rules for the labelling of kneading masses.


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Link: Fifteen kneadings in the eco-test

Image: iStock