Following reports that two children had become comatose after swallowing beads from Aqua Dots craft kits, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 4.2 million sets of the small colored beads. Made in China for the Canadian company, Spin Master, the craft kits feature beads that fuse together when sprayed with water. The CPSC said that the coating on the beads that causes them to stick together contains a chemical that can turn toxic when ingested.
The CPSC has received two reports over the past several days of children swallowing Aqua Dots. A 20-month-old child swallowed several dozen beads. He became dizzy and vomited several times before slipping into a comatose state for a period of time, was hospitalized, and has since fully recovered. A second child also vomited and slipped into a comatose state and was hospitalized for five days.
The recall applies to all models of Aqua Dots, also sold as Aqua Beads. The product was sold in various different kits with accessories such as a drying fan, applicator pen, design templates for the beads, and spray bottle. The product was labeled for children age four and older. The beads were sold at large walk-in and online retailers nationwide from April 2007 through November 2007 for between $17 and $30.
Parents are advised to not only take the beads away from children but to search for any stray beads and discard them too. CPSC’s Julie Vallese says, "Parents should take this very seriously. The consequences to children who ingest these beads is very serious."
According to an article in the New York Times, similar cases have been reported in Australia where the beads were sold as Bindeez, and where they have also been recalled. A doctor there identified the offending chemical as one related to GHB, the banned date rape drug.
Spin Master is offering consumers replacement beads or a toy of equal value and can be contacted at (800) 622-8339 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or through the firm’s Web site at www.aquadotsrecall.com.
Has anyone tested the plates and coffee cups from China for lead paint?
For more information on lead, read New Worries on Lead published recently in Consumer Reports and on Consumer Reports Online.