Thai watchdog warns ’baby crystal’ beads remain banned

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According to the OCPB, these beads, which expand in size when they come into contact with water, have been banned in the country since 1984 due to their dangerous nature.

Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) has warned that retailers could risk up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 600,000 baht for selling water-absorbing “baby crystal” beads.

According to the OCPB, these beads, which expand in size when they come into contact with water, have been banned in the country since 1984 due to their dangerous nature.



The warning comes in response to an internet post by a Thai mother about her child being hospitalized after swallowing several crystal beads. A CT scan revealed that a bead was lodged in the child’s colon and had swelled to more than 3 cm in width. The child is still in intensive care following emergency surgery to remove the beads.

The mother reported that she had bought the beads for her six-year-old daughter to use for decoration.



Water beads, also known as water marbles or hydrogel beads, are small, round beads made of a water-absorbent polymer. They can be used for a variety of purposes, such as in floral arrangements, decoration, sensory play for children, and for water conservation in gardening. They typically start out small and hard, but when placed in water, they absorb the liquid and expand to many times their original size.

Each bead can hold water for several weeks, releasing it slowly to plants. When dry, they shrink back to their original size and can be re-hydrated for reuse. (NNT)