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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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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.


"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov














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