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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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It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By BZDTemp on 11/8/2007 2:23:20 PM , Rating: 3
Great toys and safe.

Plus there are even something for us geeks - the Lego NXT stuff :-)

Just go to youtube and check!

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By TomZ on 11/8/2007 2:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
When you go to they toy store, you can always tell the toys that are made in Europe - you just have to look at the price tag. Legos, for instance, are terribly expensive considering the cost of production which I would expect is relatively low. I realize the weak dollar makes this situation worse, however, if Legos were made in Aisa instead, they could be sold at 1/2 what they are now.

Just wait, the future is mega-brands like Lego, but from Asia - just give them a little more time for R&D and branding.

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By SirLucius on 11/8/2007 2:38:53 PM , Rating: 5
Don't they already have those? They're called Mega-Blocks or something like that. They're basically over-sized Legos that lack the same quality. I remember having them way back in pre-school and kindergarten. Despite the cheaper price, they haven't caught on the way Legos have.

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By theapparition on 11/8/2007 3:31:35 PM , Rating: 1
Mega blocks are for toddlers, Legos are for pre-teens.

Different markets, but Legos are so much cooler.
Yes, I had to buy the Lego Millenium Falcon and build it myself.

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By 16nm on 11/8/07, Rating: 0
RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By TomZ on 11/8/2007 7:52:07 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe there's more to life than just "tech." Obviously people are reading the article and even commenting on it, so there must be some interest. Not every article will appeal to every DT reader after all.

By 16nm on 11/10/2007 10:32:21 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe there's more to life than just "tech."

I guess there might be more to life than just "tech." I never considered that could be possible. However, this is Daily Tech .com, right? A technology news site, no? Well, I guess the answer is obvious - no. I shall expect to see the same articles that I see on general news sites... how boring.

By gmyx on 11/9/2007 9:01:24 AM , Rating: 2
You are thinking of Duplo, the Lego brand for their large blocks. Mega blocks is a Canadian company with compatible blocks. I've got both - legos and Mega blocks.

By cheetah2k on 11/8/2007 8:28:21 PM , Rating: 2
There are Lego knock-offs in Mainland China. I've seen them so many times during my trips, and they are priced around 1/4 of the cost and are also compatible with the originals...

I wonder if these also disolve into the "date rape" drug like the beeds.

So now we have to stop our kids from sucking on their toys?

Maybe we should starting exporting Arsenic laced produce to China?

I wonder what other potential time bombs are being imported from China, that will affect our loved ones??

By BZDTemp on 11/8/2007 3:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
Please don't complain about price - Lego cost almost double here in Europe. Just like all the other international brands they charge what the market can handle so like Sony, Microsoft and many others they make EU citizen pay big time!

Anyway you can't really compare Lego with the cheap stuff. I have bricks my parents got some 30+ years ago and they still look nice and work great with even the latest sets. If ever they feel like a freshening up they just go in a fabric bag and take a spin in the washing machine (electric engines excluded of course) :-)

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By Ryanman on 11/8/2007 8:24:34 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah I dunno if you've read what kinda tolerances Legos are built to... I've had cars run over some of my structures and they lasted. Broken more than one fingernail trying to get them apart. Some of mine are 17 years old and still fit like the day they were made.
Does that mean they're worth 10 cents (+/-) apiece (and 15 cents for the "star wars" onces)? In my opinion yes, because if something is going to be still in shape 35 years from now it's worth it. But they're DAMN expensive and I'm sure they don't shirk on the profits.

By cheetah2k on 11/8/2007 8:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
With long life spans like that, Lego makes for good non-biodegradeable land fill dont you think?

Actually I love the stuff - especially technics Lego

By derdon on 11/9/2007 2:49:54 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, yes the price, but the Lego you buy today you can pass on to your grandchildren's children. I've got a whole ton of it at home thrown together from all the different things. It will be good enough for generations. There's probably a lot of the parts lost, but it's so much you can use it to build whatever your imagination is up to.

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By chrisld on 11/8/2007 4:06:18 PM , Rating: 1
I wouldn't worry too much. GHB is a substance that naturally occurs in the body and all it does is send you to sleep. It has been used for over 30 years as a safe drug in many countries. There is a whole book about how the FDA banned it just so that the drug companies could then sell it under prescription and thus make a profit from it because before you didn't need a prescription for it. If you search you will find that it is indeed available under prescription now. If it were as dangerous as claimed, it's now classed like heroin etc, then it would not be available would it?

So I would not be in the slightest bit worried if my child were exposed to it. It takes several grams to put you to sleep and there are no side effects.

Before you flame me read the book. I have.

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By superforever on 11/8/2007 4:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
You are wrong, dailytech didn't mention this was originally discovered in Australia and caused several kids in hospital.
That's why ToysRus removed them immediately and was not because they found the problem by themselves.

Check this out.

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By chrisld on 11/8/2007 5:36:22 PM , Rating: 1
I read your link. This is a quote from it:

"The toddler appeared drowsy and was treated at the scene before being taken to hospital."

Exactly what GHB does. You feel drowsy. No harm done and no side effects. If we took our kids to hospital every time they were drowsy we'd really have a mess.

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By TomZ on 11/8/2007 5:53:10 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point. The point is not whether or not GHB should be a controlled substance. The point is whether it is acceptable that GHB is contained within our children's toys.

In this country, by law, we require toys to be safe. A bead which could easily be swallowed needs to be completely non-toxic, and it is completely unacceptable if it kills a child, puts them into a coma, or even makes them just drowsy.

The argument you make is purely idiodic. As the other poster said, tell your "no harm done" story to the parents of the child/children who went into a coma.

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By chrisld on 11/8/2007 5:56:09 PM , Rating: 1
Your comment "A bead which could easily be swallowed needs to be completely non-toxic, and it is completely unacceptable if it kills a child, puts them into a coma, or even makes them just drowsy."

As I stated, read the book. It is non-toxic. Never killed anyone and I don't think making someone drowsy is a big deal. People panic sometimes as GHB gives a deep sleep, but that's not a coma.

By Parhel on 11/8/2007 6:12:18 PM , Rating: 2
As of 2000, the FDA had recorded 45 GHB related deaths:

Every substance has a lethal dosage. The possibility of a child swallowing an unknown amount of any drug is extremely alarming. These aren't medical dosages we are talking about. They could be 100 times a normal dosage level for all we know. I think that people who like a particular drug will do and say anything they need to to defend that drug. No drug is "100% safe."

By 3307 on 11/8/2007 8:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
wtf do u know what could possibly happen to our children?this is bad. AND i can imagine how the christmas sales would go esecially with lead painted toys that is highly contagious!

RE: It's a good thing Lego is made in Europe
By Christopher1 on 11/8/2007 10:07:10 PM , Rating: 1
True. Non-toxic does NOT mean that in large doses, something will not cause you to be sleepy or cause some other effect. Non-toxic means that in SMALL doses there will be very little, if any, negative side effects and the risk of DEATH is negligible from it.

That said, I still wouldn't give these things to my daughters if they were still at the age where they would play with these things.

I also have to say that the only cases where GHB killed someone is where it was mixed with ALCOHOL, which magnifies the effects somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 fold in some people.

By winterspan on 11/9/2007 5:49:07 AM , Rating: 2
I love how many people post "facts" on the internet without knowing what the hell they are talking about...

30% of deaths related to GHB are NOT poly-drug AKA only a high does of GHB Killed them.

By tmouse on 11/9/2007 9:36:52 AM , Rating: 3
You clearly do not know what you are talking about. There is no such thing as a central nervous system depressant that is harmless. Just because someone wrote about in a popular press book does not make it so. The are numerous documented cases in the medical literature of real comas not just "deep sleep". There have been deaths due to respiratory arrest from this drug. It also cause haluciations which clearly indicates higher order brain function disruption. Think about it for a second; anything that effects the CNS, natural or not, is deadly dependent upon dose. The LD50 for GBH is around 2g/kg but this can vary. In small doses it may be seem relativly harmless, but since there is no way you can control how much your child can ingest it should NOT be available to children. Your "don't worry" additude is both reckless and stupid. The idea that the Pharmas paid the FDA to restrict it for profit is pure tin foil hat thinking, there are a lot other interests that were making ALOT of money off of it. In small doses it is fairly harmless but people abused it and now it is controled. Some people think this stinks well I do not like having to have a safe in my office and having to have a licience and a ton of paperwork for the ketamine I use in my animal studies but a-holes started abusing it and know I do. Just because something is natural does NOT mean its harmless, almost all pharmacologicals have some "natural" history.

By superforever on 11/8/2007 6:47:12 PM , Rating: 2
"A 17-MONTH-OLD boy was in a serious but stable condition in John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle last night after he swallowed a bead from a now-banned Bindeez toy."

Did you miss something?

Serious condition in hospital and you are saying it is acceptable and no worry.

You may having it everyday.

By SavagePotato on 11/8/2007 4:28:08 PM , Rating: 2
I think the children that have already been hospitalized in connection with the issue would likely disagree with you.

Miss that part of the article?

By gramboh on 11/8/2007 5:02:13 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on the dose. GHB can be fatal in higher doses.

"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation

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