(TRENTON) – The Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Herb Conaway, Jr. that would prohibit the sale of water beads in New Jersey. Water beads are marketed to children as toys and to adults to use as decorative items. They are also advertised as a helpful way to retain water in plants. However, when ingested, water beads expand inside the body and may cause life-threatening intestinal blockage or death.
Bill A-5366 aims to prevent injury or death by a child, or adult, who ingests these small, round beads that expand from the size of a pinhead to the size of a golf ball when placed in water.
Under the bill, it would be illegal to sell or distribute water beads, or any product containing water beads. Violators would face a civil penalty of up to $5,000.
“We’ve heard far too many reports of children mistaking water beads for candy and ingesting them or sticking them in their ears,” said Assemblyman Conaway (D-Burlington). “Assembly Democrats are focused on keeping kids safe, and barring the sale and distribution of water beads will lower the risk posed by these dangerous items.”
Statistics from the Consumer Product Safety Commission show that water bead accidents sent an estimated 7,800 children to the emergency room from 2016 to 2022.
The committee advanced the bill 4-0.