Safe Toys for Kids advocate BAN Toxics warns the public over the continuous selling of water beads toys. The colorful crystal beads are made of superabsorbent polymer chemicals, also known as jelly beads, hydro orbs, crystal soil, and gel beads. When the tiny, hard plastic balls are placed in water, they can grow up to 1,500 times their size.
Water beads sold as toys are often brightly colored and may resemble candy. These qualities make water beads appealing to young children, who could swallow them or put them in their ears, nose, or other body openings.
During the market surveillance conducted by BT Patrollers last February 26, the group managed to purchase Seven Color Crystal Ball – a water beads toy, priced at P80 pesos per pack at the Toys and Candies Section of Pasig Mega Market, Pasig City.
The group conducted an actual test of placing the colorful tiny beads in water to determine the actual sizes and time spent for the beads toy to grow.
“It is alarming to discover the continued sale of water beads toys in public markets despite the issuance of a health advisory due to hazards to children’s health,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.
In 2009, the Department of Health issued an advisory over the proliferation of Seven Color Crystal Balls and advised the public to keep them away from children since they are not toys. The products pose the potential risk of accidental ingestion by children. The items are available in retail stores near schools and are being used allegedly as toys for school children due to their varying colors and gel-like appearance.
According to HealthChildren.org, young children may be tempted to swallow the water beads as they resemble candy. Kids have also put them in their ears, and even inhaled them. The beads can continue to grow once inside the body causing blockages and life-threatening damage.
Signs your child may have swallowed a water beads toy: Refusing to eat, Lethargy, Drooling, Vomiting, Wheezing, Complaints that something is stuck in the throat or chest, Abdominal pain, Constipation, Abdominal swelling, and soreness.
On March 3, based on a report from San Antonio, Texas, USA published at TODAY.com an article titled “Her daughter swallowed a water bead. Now, this mom is on a mission to warn other parents,” featured the story about a 10-month-old baby rushed to the emergency room due to projectile vomiting. According to the report, the doctor showed the family an image of water beads found lodged in the baby’s intestines.
“We call the attention of the Food and Drug Administration to issue a public health issuance reiterating the 14-year-old advisory issued by then Secretary Duque III and immediately conduct product confiscation to prevent life-threatening danger to our children,” the group added.
The water beads toys likewise failed the labeling requirements under RA 10620 or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Law. Under Section 10 (Penalties) – Any person who shall violate any provision of this Act shall be subject to a fine of not less than Ten thousand pesos (P10,000.00) but not more than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) or imprisonment of not less than three (3) months but not more than two (2) years, or both, at the discretion of the court.