A biology kit sold to children age 8 and older is under fire in Mexico after a customer alerted it included a dissected frog submerged in formaldehyde, known to be a human carcinogen.
The claim, first reported by Animal Politico, is being investigated by the Federal Commission for the Protection against Health Risks (Cofepris) but the product has not been formally recalled.
"We are recommending to refrain from purchasing this product," said Cofepris’ Álvaro Pérez Vega to the publication. “The intake of formaldehyde, the contact with the skin, or even the inhalation of the chemical’s gases may represent a risk of toxicity for children who come in contact with it,” he added.
The kit, called “Biologia Plus,” is manufactured by Algara SA de CV and reportedly has been in the market for 20 years.
In addition to the dead frog, it includes a scalpel, a plastic microscope and several other instruments, along with a "Biology Manual" that is also being criticized for being insensitive.
“The booklet does not guide the children in the task of dissecting the animal, just lists a series of instructions to cut the frog open and dismember it without any purpose and using inhuman language,” said Dr. Andrea Angulo, an specialist in social psychology consulted by Animal Politico.
Among the instructions, for example: "Open the mouth of your specimen as wide as you can. If necessary, cut both sides of the jaw slightly so that the mouth can remain open." And then: “Place the animal in the dissection container, belly up and with the head away from you, and nail it into the paraffin using a pin through each end, and one through the tip of the jaw."
Dr. Angulo said the toy is dangerous because what children play with has implications in adulthood. “Today you see the frog as an object, tomorrow it can be a dog and later your neighbor,” she said.
A video in YouTube shows three kids dissecting a frog using the controversial kit. After quickly dismissing the booklet as “boring,” they joyfully start dismembering the animal with their bare hands.
"Today we learned something interesting: How to kill something,” one of the girls in the video says.