Call for FDA to Warn Consumers About the Risks of Water Bead Toys
In response to the recall of water bead toys in the US due to safety hazards, the EcoWaste Coalition is calling on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a public health warning about similar toys sold in the Philippines, often without proper authorization and labeling.
The non-profit organization, dedicated to advocating for children's right to safe toys and promoting a zero-waste and toxics-free society, is seeking to protect the health and safety of Filipino children from dangerous toys.
The recent tragic incident in the US, where a 10-month-old child died after ingesting water beads, highlights the urgent need to address the unregulated sale of these hazardous toys, both in physical stores and online marketplaces. Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, emphasizes the importance of taking action to prevent such incidents.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has warned that if a child swallows a water bead, it can expand, leading to ingestion, choking, and intestinal obstruction hazards, potentially resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration, and even death.
On September 14, the CPSC and Buffalo Games LLC issued a recall for approximately 52,000 units of Chuckle & Roar water beads after reports of ingestion incidents resulting in serious injuries and a tragic death. Buffalo Games confirmed one case where a 10-month-old child died after swallowing the recalled water beads in July 2023, while another report detailed a nine-month-old child's serious injury in November 2022, requiring surgery to remove the water beads.
Both the CPSC and Buffalo Games have advised consumers to immediately stop using the recalled water beads and keep them out of reach of children.
Health Canada also published an advisory on May 4, 2023, warning that "water beads may pose life-threatening risks to young children" due to aspiration, choking, and injury hazards associated with such toys.
Given the alarming cases of water bead ingestion, especially in the US, which have necessitated surgical interventions, the EcoWaste Coalition previously wrote to the FDA on June 8, 2021, requesting the agency to issue a public health advisory concerning the threat these toys pose to the health and safety of children.
Notably, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had already alerted consumers to the dangers of water beads back in 2015, following incidents of children ingesting them and requiring hospital treatment for removal.
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