Everyone has seen them those little silica bags with little beads or balls inside. They are meant to keep products dry, and you can find them in clothes, gifts, and other random stuff at times. Are these silica beads toxic? Should you go to the ER if your toddler eats some of them?
"Oh, look mom, beautiful little crystals!" my three year old said enthusiastically when he opened the silica bag that, of course, mentioned that it wasn't fit for human consumption on there somewhere. We got the silica bags in the post with some buttons off off eBay, and my son it beyond the oral stage now. Usually, anyway. He didn't eat any silica beads, but he did give me inspiration to blog about it. Because I'm sure plenty of moms have panicked when their child has consumed a bag of these see-through little beads. After all, they even appear inside food packages sometimes.
Well, as far as I can tell, here is the deal with silica bags: silica itself is not toxic, and it's also called silicon dioxide. It's actually a mineral found in water and approved for use in food products. Silica is a major component of sand. Silica beads that are colored have chemical additives that may well be toxic. Cobalt will result in blue colored silica beads, and is toxic and potentially carcinogenic. Orange and green silica beads probably contain methyl violet, which is poisonous. Head to the ER if your child ingests one of the colored beads.
Otherwise, don't sweat it. If you're going to call someone by phone, poison control centers are a better bet than your local pediatrician, because they'll know all about toxic substances. Since silica is used to absorb moisture, I wouldn't be surprised if the beads increase in size if they're ingested. It's possible that this isn't the healthiest of things.