Study finds that recalled Aqua Dots did contain poisonous chemical

May 20, 2008

Reports of children becoming unconscious after swallowing Aqua Dots beads led to a voluntary recall of the product in November 2007. At the time, it was widely reported that the potentially toxic chemical 1,4-butanediol (BD) had been used in place of the benign but more expensive 1,5-pentanediol (PD) in the manufacture of the beads.

A new study, led by Dr. Jeffrey Suchard of the University of California, Irvine confirms these reports, finding that Aqua Dots contained no 1,5-PD at all, but had a surprisingly high level – almost 14 percent - of extractable 1,4-BD.

According to the study, consumption of several dozen Aqua Dots beads containing these levels of 1,4-BD, which is metabolized after ingestion to gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), a central nervous system depressant commonly known as a “date-rape drug,” would be enough to induce the reported vomiting and self-limited comas experienced by children that ingested the toys.

The beads did not contain any 1,5-pentanediol. That non-toxic chemical had been completely replaced with the potentially toxic 1,4-butanediol.

Aqua Dots is a children’s toy craft kit that sold millions of units in the United States and around the world. This toy was composed of small colored plastic beads that could be arranged into various shapes which would permanently stick together when misted with water and then allowed to dry. Several children in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom became ill and were hospitalized after swallowing these beads.

The toy kits have since been recalled, however it is notable that poisoning events from consumer products and medications containing toxic diols and glycols have been reported for many decades and continue to occur at fairly regular intervals.

“These chemicals appear to have a knack for being inadvertently introduced into such products, despite their known toxicities,” says Suchard.

The presentation is entitled “1,4-Butanediol Content of Aqua Dots Craft Toy Beads.” This paper will be presented at the 2008 SAEM Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday, May 30th.

Source: Wiley

Explore further: Keeping that weight loss resolution

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Keeping that weight loss resolution

21 hours ago

(HealthDay)—If you're one of the many Americans who plan to lose weight next year, there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of success, an expert says.

A case for treating both mind and body

Dec 28, 2014

New research from Rutgers University lends more support to the idea that integrating treatment of mind and body could lead to better - and cheaper - medical care.

Pregnant woman taken off life support in Ireland

Dec 26, 2014

A brain-dead pregnant woman was taken off life support Friday after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus was doomed to die—a case that exposed fear and confusion among doctors over how to apply Ireland's ...

'Tis the season to overeat

Dec 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Overeating is common during the holidays, but there are strategies that can help you eat in moderation, an expert says.

Don't let burns mar your holidays

Dec 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—The risk of burns from fires and cooking accidents increases during the holidays, so you need to be extra cautious, an expert says.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Zig158
not rated yet May 21, 2008
Kids dieing from toys made in china, who could have seen that coming! The simple fact that this keeps happening and politicians hardly even mention it shows how much the Chinese influence our "representatives". Why are imported toys not subject to the same safety regulations that domestically produced ones are?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.