Exclusive: BTHA Safety Update on SAPs and blasters

Published on: 3rd August 2023

The BTHA has expressed safety concerns regarding the increased use of Super Absorbent Polymers (SAP) in toys, most notably blasters.

Toy World sat down with Jerry Burnie OBE, head of Compliance at the British Toy & Hobby Association (BTHA), to find out what dangers the organisation feels are posed by SAPs and what advice it is offering on their use.

Super Absorbent Polymers (a liquid absorbing material) have been used in toys for many years across different types of products, such as craft sets and expanding shapes. There are controls within the toy safety standards that ensure they do not expand too much, in a way that could become a hazard to children. But recently, new products have arrived on the market: blasters that fire SAP beads or pellets, some of which are supplied dehydrated and must be rehydrated before use.

Many companies currently supplying these products state that they are not for use by children under 14 years but are more like sporting products such as paint ball guns. Although these products fall outside of the toy category by age grading, they often look very similar to toy blasters in shape and colour, rather than sporting products. The products have also been showcased at toy fairs and are available to buy in toy stores, which causes further confusion.

The BTHA purchased a sample of these products online for testing, following concern about potential incidents relating to these products and sent the products for independent testing as a toy based upon the findings detailed above.

Find out what the results were and what concerns the BTHA has regarding the sale and marketing of such products, as well as the advice it is giving to its members, in the full article from the August edition of Toy World, here.


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