Amazon, Target, and Walmart have voluntarily stopped selling water beads for children following calls for a ban from government officials, lawmakers, and public health professionals. Water beads are small balls made from a highly absorbent polymer material that can expand to 100 times their original size when exposed to liquid. Experts warn that these toys pose significant health risks to young children as they can grow inside the body if ingested. Additionally, the beads are mostly made up of water, making them difficult to detect through typical X-rays. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported that ingesting these beads can cause severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration, intestinal blockages, and even life-threatening injuries, often requiring surgery for removal. Although marketed as toys, the water beads have faced scrutiny from lawmakers and the CPSC, leading to the introduction of legislation for a national ban. In response, Amazon, Target, and Walmart have updated their policies and will no longer sell water beads marketed to children. These retailers are taking these measures to prioritize customer safety and prevent the listing of unsafe and noncompliant products. The voluntary bans were first reported by Consumer Reports. The CPSC emphasizes the importance of removing these products from the reach of small children. Notably, Buffalo Games recently recalled "Chuckle & Roar Ultimate Water Beads Activity Kits" sold exclusively at Target after one infant death was reported.
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