Sorry to be late on this story. On Wednesday the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 4.2 million Aqua Dots, distrubuted by Spin Master of Toronto, Canada. According to this article in the NY Times, if ingested the beads release a chemical related to GBH, otherwise known as the banned date rape drug.
The toy is made in Australia where it is called Bindeez. The problem was discovered when a 2-year-old boy was taken to a suburban Sydney hospital on Oct. 5 in a shallow coma and suffering from seizurelike spasms, the article says. It took doctors four weeks to figure out what caused his condition. When it was learned that the boy had vomited the beads before he fell into a coma, the beads were sent to a lab for testing.
What they found was “an obscure industrial chemical used to prevent water-soluble glues from becoming sticky before they are needed. But when ingested, the chemical quickly breaks down to become GHB. The United States tightly restricts the chemical’s sale and places GHB in the same category as heroin.”
Soon after another girl who was ten years old, was found in the same condition as the boy. She too, had vomited the beads before falling into a coma.
On Wednesday, Dr. Carpenter [the doctor who found the chemical in the beads] said safety regulators should look beyond Bindeez to conduct laboratory tests on all similar craft toys. These toys, sold under brand names including Aqua Dots and Aqua Beads, contain packets of brightly colored beads that children arrange into mosaics, then sprinkle with water; the beads then stick together in as little as 10 minutes to form durable artworks.
Okay, so obviously our kids are not supposed to be eating the beads. It would be nice if the beads they did manage to eat were not toxic. Sure do miss the good old days when a kid swallowed a marble and all a parent had to do was wait for it to come out the other side.
For more information on what to do if you have this toy go the company’s Web site or call Spin Master at (800) 622-8339 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.