A new toy product recall is enough to make the recent lead-paint scares look mild in comparison —

aqua dots - recalled toy One of this season’s hottest arts-and-crafts toys, Aqua Dots is being pulled off North American store shelves and parents are warned to take the toy away from children immediately.

The popular children’s toy is being recalled for containing a chemical that effectively turns into the “date rape drug” if swallowed.

In Australia, where the toy is called Bindeez, at least three children have already been hospitalized after ingesting the small coloured beads.

A Chinese factory that was manufacturing the toy sets appears to have substituted a toxic chemical for the safe adhesive that was specified for use in the product. It is not yet known if product outside of Australia are affected, but no one is taking any chances —

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November 7, 2007
Release #08-074

Spin Master Recalls Aqua Dots –- Children Became Unconscious After Swallowing Beads

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed.

More than 4.2 million units have been recalled, and major retailers including Wal-Mart, which had named the toy on its “Top 12 Toys of Christmas” list, have pulled the toy from their shelves. The recall applies to all varieties and versions of the Aqua Dots sets.

Hazard: The coating on the beads that causes the beads to stick to each other when water is added contains a chemical that can turn toxic when many are ingested. Children who swallow the beads can become comatose, develop respiratory depression, or have seizures.

Incidents/Injuries: CPSC has received two reports over the past several days of children swallowing Aqua Dots. A 20-month-old child swallowed several dozen beads. He became dizzy and vomited several times before slipping into a comatose state for a period of time, was hospitalized, and has since fully recovered. A second child also vomited and slipped into a comatose state and was hospitalized for five days.

For more information, visit www.aquadotsrecall.com.

It’s enough to terrify a parent — and to send a major shock through the pre-Christmas toy market, on the heels of a flurry of popular brand-name toys recalled for excessive levels of lead in the paint.

Illicit substitutions are proving to be a significant problem in China, as under-regulated and under-inspected factories look for ways to cut costs to meet the price demands of bargain-hunting consumers around the world. Time to re-think our shopping priorities, perhaps?

Technorati Tags: China, toys, product recalls, Aqua Dots

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. auctionjunkie

    Ugh! Thanks for posting this. Somehow I missed this one and while we do lots of crafts, fortunately not this. Yikes.

  2. Hooper

    Aqua dots are 80 proof…scary stuff

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