Nov 6 2007
A toy which won the Australian Toy of the Year award earlier this year at the Melbourne Toy and Hobby fair has sent the nation, parents and retailers into a panic.
The toy 'Bindeez' contains hundreds of beads which can induce seizures, drowsiness or coma, if swallowed.
The beads should contain a non-toxic glue but instead they contain contain a toxic chemical which when swallowed changes into the illegal drug GHB
GHB stands for Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate or Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid and is made from Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL) and Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide which is a degreasing solvent or floor stripper.
When products containing GBL are ingested, GHB is produced in the body.
Street names for GHB include "G" Gamma-OH, Liquid E, Fantasy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Liquid X, Liquid Ecstasy, Scoop, Water, Everclear and so on.
Reactions to GBH include nausea, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, amnesia, vomiting, loss of muscle control, respiratory problems, loss of consciousness, being conscious but unable to move, and even death.
In Australia most states have banned the toy after three children became seriously ill after swallowing a large number of the product's plastic beads.
Experts say the effects of GHB in the stomach if the beads are swallowed are serious and can be life-threatening.
All retailers have been ordered to remove Bindeez from the shelves and authorities are investigating the incident and say all of the documentation and the results received to date do not suggest that the poisoning is deliberate.
But however it remains unclear how the toy became contaminated with the toxin.
NSW Fair Trading Minister Linda Burney has announced an immediate product recall pending further testing and will advise parents as more information becomes available.
Chain store Target has voluntarily withdrawn Bindeez from shelves across the nation following a product withdrawal request from the toy's manufacturer, Moose.
The sole distributor of the toy is the Melbourne-based company Moose Enterprises; the company is working closely with authorities to resolve the issue and examine whether the substitution was deliberate. The toy is manufactured in Hong Kong.
Bindeez are apparently bright, colourful beads that 'magically' join together with water to create 'fun designs'.