Amazon, Target and Walmart to stop selling potentially deadly water beads marketed to kids

By admin Dec14,2023

Major retailers including Amazon, Target and Walmart will stop selling water beads marketed to children amid calls for a ban on the colorful, water-absorbing balls sold as toys that can be potentially lethal if swallowed. 

The retailers, along with Etsy and Alibaba, are halting sales and marketing of water beads for children after receiving pressure from safety and consumers advocates as well as from policymakers, Consumer Reports reported on Wednesday.

The development comes a month after the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned that the beads can expand to many times their size once inside a child’s body. The agency’s chair also voiced support for a bill that would ban the product.

Often purchased for older siblings, expanded water beads have been found in the stomachs, intestines, ears, noses and even lungs of infants and toddlers, according to Consumer Reports. Waters beads were behind roughly 7,800 visits to emergency rooms from 2016 to 2022, the CPSC estimates.

The beads have also been the subject of recalls, with the most recent announced in September and involving water bead activity kits sold exclusively at Target. The recalls came after a 10-month-old died in July from swallowing a bead in Wisconsin and a 10-month-old was seriously injured late last year in Maine.   

Recalled water beads activity set.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Amazon confirmed its new policy in an email to CBS News, along with Etsy, Target and Walmart; Alibaba said it is banning the sale of water beads to the U.S. in an October press release.

“In the interest of safety, Amazon will no longer allow the sale of water beads that are marketed to children, including as toys, art supplies or for sensory play. We work hard to ensure the products offered in our store are safe, and we have teams dedicated to developing and updating our policies, evaluating listings, and continuously monitoring our store to prevent unsafe and noncompliant products from being listed,” the retailer stated.

Recalled water beads toy.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Target also said it would no longer sell water beads marketed to children ages 12 and under in stores or online. 

“Given growing safety concerns, we will no longer sell water beads marketed to children,” a spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch in an email.

A Walmart spokesperson said it had “already taken steps to remove” expanding water bead toy and craft items from its stores and online. 

An Etsy spokesperson confirmed that water beads are prohibited on its platform, stating in an email: “These items are not allowed to be sold on Etsy regardless of their marketing or intended use.”

Rep. Frank Pallone, D., New Jersey, in November introduced legislation to ban water beads marketed to kids, saying at a news conference that “Walmart, Amazon and Target all sell these things in various forms.” 

“We did a recent search on Amazon and we got 3,000 results, so it’s very widespread,” the lawmaker added.

By admin

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