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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 CNN.com, "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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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:

http://www.fda.gov/FDAC/features/2000/200_ghb.html

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.


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