[…] In a fantastic piece today, the New York Times’ Keith Bradsher explains how doctors in Sydney, Australia, spent a couple weeks getting to the bottom of the menace posed by Aqua Dots — leading to international recalls of the product, including one in the United States this week by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.
Early in October, a 2-year-old boy was admitted to a Sydney hospital after he fell into a coma and began suffering seizurelike spasms. Kevin Carpenter, a biochemical geneticist in Sydney, discovered traces of Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB, in the boy’s urine. GHB has been used as a rave drug — at low doses, it causes a sense of euphoria — and in the commission of date rape. […]
[…] The story started with a 2-year-old boy who was taken to a suburban Sydney hospital on Oct. 5 in a shallow coma and suffering from seizurelike spasms. It ended with the latest recall of a Chinese-made toy, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission ordered the recall of 4.2 million Aqua Dots in the United States on Wednesday evening.
Connecting the two events were four weeks of medical sleuthing by Dr. Kevin Carpenter, a biochemical geneticist in Sydney. Dr. Carpenter discovered that the boy in Sydney had eaten Bindeez beads, celebrated as Australia’s “Toy of the Year.”
Once ingested, the beads released a chemical related to GHB, the banned date rape drug. The beads are marketed in North America as Aqua Dots. […]
[…] Hazard: The coating on the beads that causes the beads to stick to each other when water is added contains a chemical that can turn toxic when many are ingested. Children who swallow the beads can become comatose, develop respiratory depression, or have seizures. […]
For additional information, contact Spin Master at (800) 622-8339 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.aquadotsrecall.com