'Date rape drug' China toy recalled

Millions pulled off shelf over chemical that becomes powerful drug when ingested.

    Five children have been hospitalised after swallowing the beads, also sold as Aqua Dots in the US

    Australia ordered the toys off the shelves on Tuesday after three children including a 19-month-old baby were hospitalised.
     
    Naren Gunja, from Australia's Poisons Information Centre, said the effect of the drug on children was "quite serious... and potentially life-threatening".
     
    Affected toys

    'Date rape' drug chemical:

    Aqua Dots or Bindeez 

    beads

    Lead poisoning:

    Dizzy Ducks music boxes, Winnie-the-Pooh spinning tops, Big Red wagons, Dragster and Funny Car and Duck Family wind-up toys, Pull-Back Action Toy Cars

    The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) pulled the toys hours later.
     
    Scott Wolfson, a commission spokesman, said the two children in the US slipped into non-responsive comas after swallowing the beads.
     
    The commission urged consumers to take away the Aqua Dots toys from their children and look for any stray beads.
     
    The toy is distributed in North America by Spin Master, a Toronto company which said it had recalled Aqua Dots from Canadian retail stores as well.
     
    Scientists said when the beads are ingested, a chemical coating metabolises into the so-called date-rape drug gamma hydroxy butyrate, which can induce unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death.
     
    US toy giant Toys R Us said on Tuesday it has stopped selling the entire Spin Master Aqua Dots product line in its stores across North America and on its website.
     
    The latest toy recall comes just weeks before the crucial Christmas holiday season for toymakers, dealing yet another blow to a Chinese toy industry already plagued by numerous recalls and fears over the safety of its products.
     
    Aqua Dots had been one of the few bright stars of the toy-selling season, even being named Australia's 2007 toy of the year.
     
    The item, which had been heavily advertised in the US, appeared on many toy experts' list of must-have holiday toys, and retailers are now in the midst of canceling advertising and scrambling to find a suitable replacement.
     
    Also on Wednesday, the CPSC issued recalls for about 403,000 toys with paint containing excessive levels of lead, including 380,000 Pull-Back Action Toy Cars.
     
    Other warnings were for Dizzy Ducks music boxes, Winnie-the-Pooh spinning tops, Big Red wagons, Dragster and Funny Car toys, and Duck Family collectible wind-up toys.
     
    No illnesses have been reported.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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