Safe Toys for Kids advocate BAN Toxics, is issuing a warning to the public regarding the sale of expandable water toys that pose a risk to children. These colorful expandable water toys are made from superabsorbent polymer (SAPs) plastic chemicals, also known as “grow monsters,” which expand after being immersed in water for 72 hours. They come in various shapes and sizes, with popular varieties including dinosaurs, reptiles, insects, and animals.
During the market surveillance conducted by BT Patrollers, the group managed to purchase expandable water toys in toy stores along M. De Santos Street, Divisoria, Manila, priced at P80 per pack of 24 pieces. The toy products bear labels indicating they are made in China, include a warning label for choking hazards, and are intended for children aged 3 years and older.
To determine the actual sizes and the time spent for the toy to expand, the group tested the products by soaking three different samples: a blue bat, a yellow spider, and a red mantis. After three days, as stated on the label, the toys expanded 600 times from their original sizes.
These expandable water toys are often brightly colored, soft, and squeaky, making them appealing to young children. However, these SAPs plastic toys are similar to water beads and may be accidentally swallowed or inserted into a child’s ears, nose, or other body openings.
“The manufacture, sale, and use of superabsorbent polymers in children’s products, especially toys, should be banned due to the potential health risk to children,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.
In 2009, the Department of Health issued an advisory regarding water beads toys, urging the public to keep them away from children as they are not suitable as toys and pose a potential risk of accidental ingestion.
BAN Toxics is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to issue a public health advisory against the manufacture, sale, and use of expandable water toys that use super absorbent plastic polymer materials in children’s products, such as toys, to prevent life-threatening dangers to children.
“We will continue to conduct on-site monitoring activities to raise awareness against toxic chemicals in consumer products to protect the public more importantly children against hazards to health and safety,” the group added.
These expandable water toys likewise do not meet the labeling requirements under RA 10620, or the Toy and Game Safety Labeling Law. Under Section 10 (Penalties) of the law, any person found violating its provisions may be subject to a fine ranging from P10,000.00 to P50,000.00, imprisonment for a period of not less than three months but not more than two years, or both, at the discretion of the court.