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Aqua Dots Recall Issued After

Nov 8, 2007 | Parker Waichman LLP

Aqua Dots, a popular craft toy, has been recalled because the tiny beads contain a chemical that can morph into a so-called “date rape” drug if swallowed by children.   The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging parents to take these dangerous toys away from their kids, as Aqua Dots have already caused serious injuries to at least two children in the United States and three others in 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 Aqua Dots kits cost between $17 and $30.  Children are able to create various multi-dimensional designs using small colored beads that come with the Aqua Dots kit.   The beads fuse together when sprayed with water. The product is available in various kits with accessories such as a drying fan, applicator pen, design templates for the beads, and spray bottle. According to the CPSC, consumers should immediately take the recalled toy away from children and contact Spin Master for free replacement beads or a toy of equal value.  Spin Master can be contacted by calling (800) 622-8339 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or by visiting www.aquadotsrecall.com

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 if the beads are swallowed.   This toxic compound can cause unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death.  According to the CPSC, the two children in the United States who swallowed Aqua Dots vomited and then fell into non-responsive comas.   One, a 20-month-old child, recovered completely.  The second was recently released from the hospital and is continuing to recover.  The age of that child has not been made public.  In Australia, where the toys are sold as Bindeez, three children who are being treated for Aqua Dot injuries remain hospitalized.

The Aqua Dots recall could not come at a worse time for the toy industry, just 7 weeks before Christmas.  Over the summer, millions of toys were recalled due to lead hazards, dangerous magnets and other problems.   While that trend has continued into the fall, the Aqua Dots recall is especially disturbing.   Prior to the recall, Aqua Dots had been highly praised, and the toy had been featured in many parenting magazines as a “must have toy”.  In Australia, the Bindeez version was recently named the toy of the year.  

The recalled Aqua Dots were manufactured by a toy factory in China’s Guangdong province.  Only last week, Chinese regulatory authorities had banned 700 toy factories in that province from exporting their products because of shoddy manufacturing practices.  There has been no word as to whether the Chinese factory that produced the recalled Aqua Dots was among those facilities affected by the export ban.


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