Target, Amazon among several retailers vowing to stop sale of water beads to children

Water beads linked to thousands of emergency room visits involving children

Water beads (Consumer Reports)

Several companies, including Target, Amazon and Walmart, have said they will stop selling and marketing water beads to children after pressure from a Consumer Reports investigation.

Water beads are tiny, absorbent and super-expanding toys that have been linked to thousands of emergency room visits involving children.

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Etsy, Target and Alibaba will also stop selling and marketing water beads.

The investigation revealed that serious health issues, such as obstruction or damage to internal organs, arose from children accidentally ingesting or swallowing the water beads.

Hazardous chemicals, including acrylamide and BPA, were detected in the popular children’s toy, according to Consumer Reports tests.

By the end of 2023, Amazon has said that the company will stop selling and marketing the beads on its platform.

Walmart says that “it will prohibit the sale of all water bead toys and craft supplies that are marketed for children under the age of nine, both in stores and online,” the news release said.

Target told Consumer Reports it will no longer sell water beads marketed to children age 12 and under.

“We commend the companies that are taking action to protect children from the dangers of water beads, and urge them to enforce their policies diligently,” said William Wallace, associate director of safety policy with Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports urged that Michael’s, SHEIN, Wish and other companies stop the sale of water beads to children.

While Consumer Reports applauded efforts from retailers to prevent water bead access to children, the organization urged for greater protection for American families, such as through the Ban Water Beads Act from Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., a Democrat from New Jersey.

Supporters of the bill included the chair of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Alexander Hoehn-Saric, parent advocates and Consumer Reports safety experts.

About the Author

Mason Hickok is a digital producer trainee at KSAT. He graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a communication degree and a minor in film studies. He also spent two years working at The Paisano, the independent student newspaper at UTSA. Outside of the newsroom, he enjoys the outdoors, walking his dogs and listening to podcasts.

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