Aqua Dots Seizure Indicates Toxic Toys Still a Threat

Aqua Dots, already recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), were seized at the port of Savannah.  Thousands of cartons of Aqua Dots, shipped from China, were bound for American stores according to Lynn Brennan from U.S. Customs and Border Protection who says this is a very significant find given that these dangerous toys create a lot of harm or potential for harm for children.  Brennan says 11 large overseas shipping containers have been seized in Savannah, Georgia and Norfolk, Virginia; the shipments arrived during the last few weeks and additional seizures are expected.  She says it’s likely the shipments began before the recall of the Aqua Dots in the United States.  Of the 11 containers, eight were confiscated in Savannah; containers held 28,000 cartons of Aqua Dots and are worth about $2 million dollars.  The CPSC recalled these items within recent weeks saying that the product was laced with a chemical, that when mixed with water, forms GHB, the date rape drug, a banned, hazardous substance.
The CPSC has urged parents to take Aqua Dots away from their kids, as the toys have already caused serious injuries to children in the United States and Australia.  Aqua Dots is a craft kit distributed in the United States by Spin Master Toys, based in Toronto, Canada.  The Chinese-made toys were sold by retailers nationwide and through the Internet from April 2007 through November 2007.  The kits cost between $17 and $30 and allow children to create various multi-dimensional designs using small colored beads which fuse together when sprayed with water. The product is available in a variety of kits with accessories such as a drying fan, an applicator pen, bead design templates, and a spray bottle.

According to the CPSC, the chemical coating used to make the Aqua Dots beads fuse together turns into the date rape drug gamma hydroxyl butyrate—or GHB—if the beads are swallowed.   GHB can cause unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma, and even death.  Initially, according to the CPSC, two children in the United States who swallowed Aqua Dots vomited and then fell into non-responsive coma.  One of the children, a 20-month old, recovered completely; the second child was recently released from the hospital and is continues to recover.  The age of that child has not been made public.  In Australia, where the toys are sold as Bindeez, three children were hospitalized for their Aqua Dot injuries and are recovering.  As of now, Aqua Dots have sickened a total of nine children in the United States, prompting another round of warnings about these dangerous toys.  Meanwhile, the Chinese government admitted that Aqua Dots were indeed made with a chemical that turns into the so-called date rape drug if swallowed.

Prior to the recall, Aqua Dots had been highly praised and was featured in many parenting magazines as a highly recommended craft toy.  In Australia, the Bindeez version was recently named the toy of the year.

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