Congressman Introduces Law to Ban Water Beads in US

See why parents and legislators are pushing for a ban on the dangerous “sensory toys” that send thousands of kids to hospitals each year.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published November 21, 2023
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Image: Cipolina | Shutterstock

Water beads burst onto the play scene four years ago, marketed as “sensory toys” perfect for kids’ crafts and sensory bins and ideal for helping little ones develop motor skills. The brightly colored, water-absorbing beads are made of super-absorbent polymer and can grow 100 times their original size when exposed to water.

But what seems like a fun toy can have grave consequences. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), between 2016 and 2022, over 7,800 children have been treated in emergency rooms after ingesting water beads. The beads can quickly pose a choking and internal injury risk as they may expand once swallowed and cause internal blockages.

While the CPSC has issued several warnings about the danger of water beads and has even recalled 52,000 million Chuckle & Roar Water Bead Activity Kits as of late, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. believes more needs to be done. In his eyes and in the eyes of many parents who’ve had to deal with the terrifying effects of their child swallowing water beads, a total ban is needed.

“Water beads come in all sorts of bright rainbow colors, tend to look like candy, and are often labeled as non-toxic,” Congressman Pallone said in a press release announcing his introduction of the National Water Bead Ban Act.

“They look and sound fun, but the reality is these colorful products can become deadly or cause serious injuries when swallowed by children. That’s why I’m introducing legislation to ban water beads marketed for kids nationwide. I’m grateful to everyone who joined me today to raise awareness about the danger these products pose—especially as holiday shopping begins—and I look forward to continuing to work together to advance this legislation to protect our nation’s little ones.”

The Ban Water Beads Act would direct the CPSC to enforce a ban on all water beads marketed for use by kids. CPSC Chairman Alex Hoehn-Saric was present when the bill was introduced and expressed his support.

“I have heard heartbreaking stories from parents whose children ingested water beads and suffered horrendous consequences, including grave internal injuries, lifelong health impacts, and even death,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “All small children who have access to water beads are at risk.”

If you want to learn more about water beads and the danger they may pose, visit

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