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Jerry Storch, Toys 'R' Us executive, was smiling--before he heard that a line of popular toys carried by his store contained a GHB producing metabolite.  (Source: Associated Press)
Looks like Toys R Us is in for a particularly interesting recall this time.

When parents plan on taking a trip to Toys 'R' Us with their children, this probably wasn't what they had in mind.  Toys 'R' Us just announced an alarming recall of its line of Bindeez, beads that are heated and pressed together to form toys and scenery, after it was revealed that they contained chemicals that when metabolized turned into gamma hydroxy butyrate.

Gamma hydroxy butyrate (GHB) is commonly known as the "date-rape drug" or Liquid Ecstasy.  It produces feelings of euphoria, increased libido, increased enjoyment of motion and sound, increased sociability, and intoxication.  With increasingly high doses, it can induce comas, seizures, drowsiness and death.

Bindeez carried by Toys 'R' Us and other retailers are produced by Moose Enterprises.  Worldwide the Bindeez, and their companion toy Aqua Dots are distributed in 40 countries.  The toys are produced in a factory in Shenzhen in China's southern Guangdong province.

The toys are sprayed with a chemical coating.  The so-called "Magic Beads" release the chemicals, when ingested, and these chemicals are metabolized into GHB.  Many manmade and naturally occurring compounds look harmless enough, but release toxic substances when ingested, such as the outer peelings of the Cassava root which when metabolized release cyanide.  Similarly, the chemical sprayed on looked innocent, until it was chemically altered upon ingestion.

Unlike some more proactive recalls, this one follows real medical cases of children becoming deathly ill.  In the U.S., two children who swallowed Aqua Dot Beads went into comas.  In Australia, three children already have been hospitalized--a two year old, a 10 year old, and a 19-month old.

Ironically, Aqua Dots were among the best selling toys of the holiday season, so far and were on many experts list of "hot" or "must-have" toys.  Toy sales in general have been slow but Aqua Dots were doing great ... which may not be a good thing.

Moose Enterprises is refusing to recall the toys internationally and will only announce recalls if a country or particular distributor requests it to, despite the child casualties. 

The company has posted a message about its recall in Australia, the other country in which recalls are currently occurring.

Ironically, the recall came right after news in which Toys 'R' Us CEO Jerry Storch had announced in an interview with, "With all the testing and the scrutiny that's been done this year, we believe this will be the safest holiday season ever."

While China's internet market flourishes, with companies such as Alibaba hitting new highs, its manufacturing industry flounders amid hundreds of recalls of toxic products.  Millions of children’s’ toys -- 19.8 million in August 2007 alone -- have been recalled from U.S. retailers, as chronicled by DailyTech, due to containing toxic levels of lead paint, or magnetic choking hazards.  Recently, Chinese cancer drugs have also been recalled following news that they were tainted with toxins.

These failures prompted the Chinese government to make a harsh statement in July when the government executed the country's former top drug regulator after he was found guilty in taking millions of dollars in bribes to approve tainted and low quality products; including antibiotics that killed at least 10 people.

Unfortunately, the message seems to have been lost on the Chinese manufacturers as quality continues to reach new strange and alarming lows.

With major risk of poisoning, anyone who purchased either Bindeez or Aqua Dots should try to return them.  It looks like some of the presents under the Christmas tree are about to disappear.

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plastic beads
By adam92682 on 11/8/2007 2:00:30 PM , Rating: -1
Who in there right mind would eat plastic beads?

RE: plastic beads
By Brandon Hill on 11/8/2007 2:07:23 PM , Rating: 3
a two year old, a 10 year old, and a 19-month old

Well, the 10-year old is obviously had a few loose screws, but the other two are somewhat understandable.

RE: plastic beads
By Parhel on 11/8/2007 2:17:44 PM , Rating: 3
. . . or maybe he already knew about the beads.

RE: plastic beads
By Parhel on 11/8/2007 2:16:42 PM , Rating: 5
My 6 months old puts anything he gets into his hands right into his mouth. Of course, we check the recommended age range on toys and make sure that there are no pieces that could come off. But, for those with more than one child in the house, I could totally understand how a bead could get swallowed with no negligence on the part of the parent.

My brother works in a hospital and has told me that parents come in all the time because their child swallowed something. I even swallowed a quarter once in an an unfortunate drinking game accident.

RE: plastic beads
By darkpaw on 11/8/2007 3:14:02 PM , Rating: 2
Tell me about it. Between toddlers propensity for putting anything and everything into their mouths and a complete disrespect for the laws of gravity I have yet to figure out how Humans ever survived as an early species.

My 11 month old just loves chewing on absolutely anything he can get his wet little paws on.

RE: plastic beads
By theapparition on 11/8/2007 3:29:24 PM , Rating: 3
People without kids just can't understand why, but that's what they do. Infants and toddlers are teething and still learning. They'll basically chew or lick anything.

If I had to describe toddlers in one word, it would have to be "sticky".

RE: plastic beads
By rdeegvainl on 11/9/2007 5:56:47 AM , Rating: 2
My new rarely used word of the day.

RE: plastic beads
By borowki on 11/8/2007 2:20:27 PM , Rating: 2
Well, as you could get high from swallowing these beads, it's surprising more adults haven't been popping them.

RE: plastic beads
By TomZ on 11/8/2007 2:26:49 PM , Rating: 1
Oh, I totally figure that will be next week's news - teens getting high popping Aqua Dots!

RE: plastic beads
By OrSin on 11/8/2007 3:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
Not that I'm a druggy but why don'y people make drugs that change only when in your system more. Its seems if someone had these on them its not like they can be arrested for having drugs.

RE: plastic beads
By Parhel on 11/8/2007 3:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
They do. This link explains it a whole lot better than I could:

I don't know that it's possible to do with each and every drug, but I know that there are (or were) pills on the market for bodybuilders which basically were metabolized into an illegal steriod.

RE: plastic beads
By jtemplin on 11/9/2007 7:47:05 AM , Rating: 2
Im into natural bodybuilding...but I know exactly what your talking about: prohormones.

Read about it:

Government banned them following baseball scandals (I think this was the connection) But apparently some products are still on the market:

RE: plastic beads
By pnyffeler on 11/8/2007 3:52:31 PM , Rating: 3
It's like Dippin' Dots for the Ecstasy Generation!

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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