Major retailers including Amazon, Target and Walmart will stop selling water beads aimed at children amid calls to ban the colorful balls that absorb water and are sold as toys that can be potentially lethal if swallowed.
Retailers, along with Etsy and Alibaba, are halting sales and marketing of children's water beads after receiving pressure from safety and consumer advocates, as well as policymakers, Consumer Reports. reported On Wednesday.
The development comes a month after the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned that the beads can expand many times their size once inside a child's body. The agency's president also expressed his support for a bill that would ban the product.
According to Consumer Reports, expanded water beads, which are often purchased for older siblings, have been found in the stomachs, intestines, ears, noses, and even lungs of babies and toddlers. Waters' accounts were behind approximately 7,800 emergency room visits between 2016 and 2022, the CPSC estimates.
The accounts have also been subject to rememberwith the most recent Announced in September and involves water bead activity kits sold exclusively at Target. The recalls came after a 10-month-old baby died in July after swallowing a bead in Wisconsin and was seriously injured late last year in Maine.
Amazon confirmed its new policy in an email to CBS News, along with Etsy, Target and Walmart; Alibaba said it will ban the sale of water pearls to the US in an October press release release.
“In the interest of safety, Amazon will no longer allow the sale of water beads that are marketed to children, including toys, art supplies, or sensory play. We work hard to ensure that the products offered in our store are safe and We have dedicated teams to develop and update our policies, evaluate listings, and continually monitor our store to prevent unsafe and non-compliant products from being listed,” the retailer said.
Target also said it would no longer sell water beads marketed to children under 12 in stores or online.
“Given growing concerns about safety, we will no longer sell water beads aimed at children,” a spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch in an email.
A Walmart spokesperson said it had “already taken steps to remove” the expanding water bead toys and craft items from its stores and online.
An Etsy spokesperson confirmed that water beads are prohibited on their platform, stating in an email, “These items are not permitted for sale on Etsy regardless of their marketing or intended use.”
Representative Frank Pallone, D., New Jersey,to ban the sale of water beads aimed at children, saying at a news conference that “Walmart, Amazon and Target sell these things in various forms.”
“We did a recent search on Amazon and got 3,000 results, so it is very widespread,” the legislator added.
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