Recalls and product safety

Water-absorbing toys recalled over safety risks to children.

CNN (12/18, Barnett) reported on its website that “a toy that absorbs water and can expand to 400 times its original size has been voluntarily recalled after a report that a baby ingested one and needed surgery to remove it, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said Monday.” According to the news report, the CPSC “said the marble-size toy can be swallowed, and once inside the stomach, it can expand and cause blockage in the small intestine.” These toys include nearly 95,000 Water Balz, Growing Skulls, H2O Orbs ‘Despicable Me’ toys and Fabulous Flowers. They were manufactured in China and the United States, and they were sold in stores in both the US and Canada. The story notes that “the CPSC and Health Canada, along with the importer DuneCraft Inc., based in Cleveland, announced the voluntary recall on Monday.”

        Morning Journal (12/18) noted that the CPSC has warned that “when the marble-sized toy is ingested, it expands inside the body and causes a blockage in the small intestine, resulting in severe discomfort, vomiting, dehydration and could be life-threatening. The toys do not show up on an x-ray and require surgery to be removed from the body.”

        Consumer Reports (12/18), WRC-TV Washington (12/18, Bernstein) and WDIV-TV Detroit (12/18) also covered this story.

FDA issues warning on misleading laser eye surgery ads.

HealthDay (12/19, Preidt) reports that the FDA on Tuesday announced it sent letters to five “eye care providers,” warning them to “stop misleading advertising about the special lasers used in vision correction procedures such as LASIK.” The agency said the “ads and promotional materials do not offer consumers enough information about the potential risks.” Center for Devices and Radiological Health Compliance Director Steve Silverman said, “Providers whose advertising does not provide adequate risk information are finding out today that the FDA is serious about consumer protection.” If the five providers “do not correct their advertising and promotional materials to address the FDA’s concerns,” the agency said it could “take further action, including seizures, injunctions and fines.” The providers to whom warning letters were sent are listed in the FDA announcement.