Chinese-Made Toy Turns Into Party Drug When Eaten

By Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor) | November 6, 2007 1:30 am

As if their reputations hadn’t absorbed enough slings and arrows, Chinese manufacturers now take the dubious honor for having made a toy that when eaten—as by small children who don’t know any better—turns into the party drug GHB. The fact that some strange glue on the toys is breaking down and getting kiddies high is bad enough. But the fact that it’s getting them high on something the media routinely calls “the date-rape drug” really brings this to the next level of badness.

The Age’s report on the incident says, “The toy contains beads that have been found to contain a chemical that the body metabolises into gamma-hydroxy butyrate (GHB), also known as ‘grievous bodily harm’. It should instead contain a non-toxic glue.”

“Should contain” indeed.

  • The Coolerking

    I wonder if these toys would fit in a shampoo bottle?

  • Concerned

    Who is really responsible for this issue, the manufacturer or the toy designers. Was this a case of a non-Chinese company designing a product to be made in China or was this product designed by the Chinese? Did the Chinese manufacture use a “substitute” (un-authorized) chemical for the adhesive or did they follow the design intent? If the design was non-Chinese and yet was faulty then why isn’t the media going after the designers? Posibly because it would not stir up more anti-Chinese sentiments? Wouln’t sell as many papers?

  • fitzt4hire

    As a concerned parent, what’s the name of this toy? Who produces it, and do they sell in bulk?

  • JM

    I think I’ve seen this dangerous bead toy on a TV news report. I don’t know if the one I saw on TV is the same thing as the one being talked about here, but I think it is. The brand name of the toy is “Bindeez”.

  • http://discovermagazine.com Amos Kenigsberg

    The AP had a solid follow-up story on what happened, even going into some of the chemistry specifics.

    fizt4hire: In the U.S., the toys are called Aqua Dots. (They’re called Bindeez in Australia.) They *should* be pulled from all toy-store shelves at this point.

    Concerned: Judging by the AP article, it sounds like it really was the fault of the Chinese manufacturer. Like you said, they “use[d] a ‘substitute’ (un-authorized) chemical”—1,4-butanediol instead of 1,5-butanediol. Your point about not sensationalizing the errors of Chinese manufacturers is a good one. I suspect that there really is a problem with product safety at Chinese manufacturers, though not necessarily any worse than manufacturers in other developing nations. Of course there are product-safety issues in developed nations, too, but they’ve had longer to adjust to new threats like modern chemicals and mass production, and we may have better safeguards, in general, than developing countries.

  • Anonymous User

    its aqua dots it has a date rape drug and thats are little kids playing with this stuff

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