Is Kinetic Sand Toxic? Read Our Expert Analysis

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Kinetic sand has become an incredibly popular toy and creative material, loved by both children and adults alike. 

This unique type of sand transcends regular sand, allowing for more interactive and engaging sensory play. The reason why kinetic sand is so popular comes down to its special patented formula and intriguing properties. 

What is Kinetic Sand Made Of?

The composition of kinetic sand is surprisingly simple. It’s made from:

  • 98% Sand: At its core, Kinetic Sand is composed mostly of regular sand, making it familiar in texture.
  • 2% Polydimethylsiloxane: This is the primary binding agent in Kinetic Sand. It’s a silicone-based compound that gives the sand its unique “kinetic” properties. This non-toxic agent makes the sand stick to itself without being sticky, ensuring that it can be molded and shaped with ease.

Kinetic sand comes in a vibrant array of colors that increase its appeal for children. 

While natural white kinetic sand captures the look of real beach sand, manufacturers have introduced a rainbow of bright colored sands to excite visual senses. The bright blues, purples, pinks, and neon greens make for a visually stimulating tactile experience. 

The Positive Impact of Kinetic Sand

A study on the use of kinetic sand as a stimulation media for fine motor development in preschool children found that it had a positive effect on fine motor skills. 

Another study on the coordination of eye and hand for children in Gorontalo found that playing with kinetic sand can improve brain development, thinking skills, imagination, and fine motor skills.

The Lack of Transparency in Commercial Kinetic Sands

For example, the most popular brand—Kinetic Sand by the company Spin Master—refuses to disclose the exact makeup of their product. Their statement is:

“We are unable to provide the ingredients of Kinetic Sand. However,
the product is tested above and beyond all global toy testing standards. We also perform toxicological risk assessments at third-party laboratories to verify that ingredients in the product are safe for children.”

The same rings true of many other popular kinetic sand brands—there is often a lack of transparency in their ingredients.

While the brand’s lack of transparency doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with the product, this should give you pause. Any time a brand refuses to disclose the chemical makeup of their formulas—especially for a children’s product—we should wonder what exactly they’re putting in it.

While reasonable trade secret confidentiality is understandable, basic ingredient transparency should be required. We believe that ethical firms committed to consumer safety should readily disclose formulas without hesitation.

Chemical Fragrance

Some products—like the Kinetic Sand Scents line from Spin Master—come in scents like strawberry, chocolate and vanilla.

The problem here is that these scents are made from unknown combinations of chemicals which could includeallergens, irritants, and endocrine disruptors.

Certain fragrances contain phthalates, toxic compounds linked to hormonal imbalances and birth defects, and even classified as a probable human carcinogen at high levels. Phthalates can be absorbed through the skin and detected in urine following use of phthalate-infused products.

While it’s not necessarily the case that these scented sands contain harmful chemicals, we would recommend avoiding those with scents.

So, Is Kinetic Sand Toxic?

In summary, kinetic sand itself does not seem inherently toxic. But the lack of full transparency from some brands allows room for concern about potential additives. 

Choosing unscented kinetic sand from transparent companies is best until regulations mandate ingredient labeling for consumer safety.

Is Kinetic Sand Safe For Pets?

If animals eat kinetic sand, it can lead to various health issues. Kinetic sand is made of ultra-fine grain sand combined with dimethicone (polydimethylsiloxane).

Although it’s generally non-toxic, ingesting large amounts can cause problems.

When animals consume kinetic sand, it can pose a choking hazard. Additionally, if they eat large amounts, it can cause constipation and, in severe cases, gastrointestinal obstruction.

The sand can remain stagnant in the bowel system, leading to significant complications. For dogs specifically, consuming kinetic sand can lead to intestinal blockage.

Symptoms of an intestinal blockage in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain/swollen abdomen, constipation, lethargy, loss of appetite, and dehydration.

If you suspect your pet has ingested kinetic sand, it’s essential to monitor them for any signs of distress or the symptoms mentioned above. In case of any concerns, contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance and further evaluation.

To prevent pets from consuming kinetic sand, store it securely in a place where your pet cannot access it. Also, supervise your pet when they are around kinetic sand to ensure they do not ingest it.

What Happens if My Child Eats Kinetic Sand?

If kids eat kinetic sand, it’s important to note that it is non-toxic and generally not harmful in small amounts.

However, ingesting kinetic sand can pose a choking hazard, especially for children under the age of 3. If large amounts are consumed, it can cause constipation or, in severe cases, gastrointestinal obstruction. 

If a child accidentally eats a small amount of kinetic sand, it is advised to offer them a few sips of any drink to rinse the sand from their mouth and into their stomach. The kinetic sand should pass in a bowel movement, possibly changing the color of their stool.

If your child experiences any discomfort or symptoms after ingesting kinetic sand, it is essential to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

What’s The Difference Between Kinetic Sand and Regular Sand?

The main difference between kinetic sand and regular sand lies in their composition and properties. Kinetic sand is made of ultra-fine grain sand coated with dimethicone (polydimethylsiloxane), a silicone oil. 

This coating gives kinetic sand its unique properties, such as being moldable, maintaining its shape when squeezed, and having a smooth texture.

On the other hand, regular sand is simply composed of tiny particles of minerals and rocks, without any added coating.

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