The Office of Consumer Protection Board (OCPB) has issued a warning to businesses who sell water-absorbing “baby crystal” beads that they might face up to three years in prison and a fine of up to 600,000 baht.
As reported by the OCPB, these beads have been outlawed in the United States since 1984 owing to the risk they pose when exposed to water.
After reading an online post by a Thai mother whose child had been hospitalized after eating multiple crystal beads, the Thai government issued the warning. A CT scan showed that the boy had a bead larger than 3 centimeters (cm) in diameter stuck in his intestines. Following emergency surgery to remove the beads, the infant remains in critical condition.
Mom said she bought the beads so her six-year-old could make jewelry.
Small, spherical beads constructed of a water-absorbent polymer are known as water beads, water marbles, or hydrogel beads. Many different things may be done with them, from water saving in gardening to flower arranging to décor to sensory play for kids. Typically, they begin life tiny and rigid, but after being exposed to water, they soften and grow to enormous proportions.
Each bead has the capacity to store water for weeks, gradually releasing it to the plants. They return to their original size when dried, and may be reused by rehydrating them.