Orbeez are beadlets that expand when placed in water. They have become popular decorative item and plaything for kids and adults alike, but concerns have been raised about their potential toxicity to humans and animals. In this article, we will examine the facts about Orbeez toxicity to help you make an informed decision about their use.

CHECK: Can you Eat Orbeez?

eating orbeez experiment output
human eating orbeez

What are Orbeez, and how are they used?

Orbeez are made from a material called sodium polyacrylate, which is a type of superabsorbent polymer. When Orbeez are placed in water, they absorb it and expand to many times their original size. They are often used as adornments for flower vases, in sensory bins, and as kids’ toys.

Orbeez Ingredients and Potential Health Risks

Orbeez are made of non-toxic materials, but as with any toy, there are potential health risks associated with their use. The main concern with Orbeez is that they may be ingested, which can cause intestinal blockages. Additionally, if Orbeez are inhaled, they can cause respiratory issues. Health risks include:


  • Orbeez are small, colorful balls that can easily be mistaken for candy or food. If ingested, they can cause choking or blockages in the digestive system.
  • In extreme cases, they can also lead to intestinal perforations or other serious complications.

Allergic Reactions:

  • Some individuals may be allergic to the materials used in Orbeez, such as latex or other synthetic materials.
  • Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include itching, redness, and swelling.

Irritation of Skin and Eyes:

  • The small, smooth surface of Orbeez can irritate the skin or eyes when handled for prolonged periods.
  • Particularly true for individuals with sensitive skin or pre-existing conditions such as eczema.

Bacterial Growth:

  • If Orbeez are not adequately cleaned or stored, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • The bacteria can lead to skin infections or other health issues if the bacteria come into contact with the skin or eyes.

You can minimize these potential health risks by not ingesting Orbeez, washing hands properly before and after handling them and keeping them in a dry, sanitized environment.

CHECK: Are Orbeez Biodegradable?

How to Safely Use Orbeez Around Children and Pets?

Use them safely to minimize the risk of health problems associated with Orbeez. The following includes:

Safety Precautions for Children

  • Orbeez should always be used under adult supervision.
  • Children under the age of 3 should not be allowed to play with Orbeez.
  • Teach children never to put Orbeez in their mouths or eyes and to wash their hands thoroughly after handling the beads.
  • Make sure to keep Orbeez out of reach of young children who may be tempted to put them in their mouths.

Safety Precautions for Pets

  • Orbeez should be kept out of reach of pets, as they can be a choking hazard if ingested.
  • If your pet does ingest Orbeez, contact a veterinarian immediately.
  • Some animals can be allergic to plastics and might develop skin reactions, so it’s best to keep them away from the beads.

Proper Clean Up

  • After use, Orbeez should be disposed of properly.
  • Any beads that have been played with or handled by children or pets should not be reused.
  • Beads that have been dropped or spilled should be cleaned up immediately to prevent the risk of choking or ingestion.

Symptoms associated with Orbeez Ingestion

Pet Orbeez ingestion symptoms

  1. Inflated mouth, tongue, and throat: Orbeez are hydrated beads that can expand in size when they come into contact with liquid. When a pet ingests Orbeez, they can cause the pet’s mouth, tongue, and throat to swell, making it difficult for the pet to breathe or swallow.
  2. Vomiting: Orbeez can cause stomach discomfort in pets, leading to vomiting or diarrhea.
  3. GI blockage: Orbeez may also cause constipation or digestive tract obstruction.
  4. Painful gut: Pets may experience abdominal pain due to Orbeez ingestion.
  5. Loss of appetite: Orbeez can cause nausea in pets, resulting in a loss of appetite.

Human Orbeez ingestion symptoms

  1. Lips and throat swelling: Orbeez can expand when they come into contact with liquid, causing similar symptoms as pets.
  2. Vomiting: Humans can experience nausea or diarrhea after ingesting Orbeez.
  3. Bloating: Orbeez also causes intestinal blockages, resulting in constipation or obstruction.
  4. Aches: Humans may experience abdominal pain due to Orbeez ingestion.
  5. Anorexia: In humans, Orbeez can cause nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms, resulting in a lack of appetite.
  6. Coughing: Orbeez may cause coughing or shortness of breath in humans due to throat swelling.
  7. Difficulty swallowing: Because Orbeez swells the throat, it can be difficult for humans to swallow.
  8. Hoarseness: Orbeez may cause hoarseness or a change in the voice due to swelling in the throat.

Note: The severity of these symptoms may vary depending on the amount of Orbeez ingested and the individual’s health. In severe cases, it is crucial to seek medical attention.


Are orbeez toxic to fish?

No, orbeez are not toxic to fish. In fact, they can actually be beneficial to them by serving as a food source.

Are orbeez toxic to dogs

There is no evidence that Orbeez are toxic to dogs. However, as with any foreign object ingested by a dog, there is always the risk of obstruction or choking. If your dog swallows a lot of Orbeez, please contact your veterinarian.

Are orbeez toxic to cats

Orbeez are not toxic to cats, but they may cause an upset stomach if ingested. Cats are generally pretty good at self-regulating their intake of water and aren’t as drawn to playing with or eating Orbeez like dogs are, so it’s unlikely your cat will consume many Orbeez. However, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on your kitty if he/she happens to be playing around with them just in case.

Are orbeez good for plants

Yes, orbeez are a good for plants. When orbeez are placed in water, they absorb the water and swell up to many times their original size. This swelling process pulls nutrients and oxygen from the water and into the orbeez, which then release these nutrients and oxygen back into the water when they shrink again. This helps to fertilize plants and can even help revive wilted plants.


In addition to being a popular decoration and toy, Orbeez are made of non-toxic materials, but improper use can pose health risks. Ingestion can result in choking or intestinal blockages, allergic reactions, skin irritations, and bacterial growth, among other risks. To minimize these risks, ensure Orbeez are stored and used correctly. Both children and pets can enjoy Orbeez safely by following these guidelines and being aware of the potential risks.

REF: https://www.poison.org/articles/are-water-beads-toxic