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Another case example
They are now saying Chinese toys contain ecstasy-like drug. Look at this Guardian piece:|
Chinese-made toy beads recalled after children fall ill
· Chemical similar to liquid ecstasy blamed for comas
· Panic spreads to North America from Australasia
Ed Pilkington in New York and David Pallister
Friday November 9, 2007
A scare over a popular toy made in China that was found to contain a chemical similar to the recreational drug liquid ecstasy has spread around the world, with millions of the toys being recalled in Australia and North America.
The alert began in Australia and New Zealand where six children fell ill, some of them going into a deep coma, after swallowing small beads that make up the toy, known in the region as Bindeez.
Yesterday the panic spread to the US and Canada, where the toy, sold under the brand name Aqua Dots, was removed from thousands of stores after it emerged that two children had succumbed to the chemical. The North American representative of the toy, Spin Master, said it had pulled it off the shelves "out of an abundance of caution".
Further recalls of the toy, which is distributed to 40 countries, are likely to follow. In the UK a similar toy called Aquabeads is distributed by Flair Leisure Products in Cheam, south-west London. The chief executive, Peter Brown, said yesterday that his product was made in a different factory with a different formula.
He said: "Bindeez is a very similar product to Aquabeads and therefore there exists the possibility of concern amongst retailers and consumers about the safety and integrity of Aquabeads. We hope by clarifying that there is no relationship between the products, consumers and retailers will be assured about the safety of Aquabeads."
He added that Aquabeads were being put through a toxicology risk analysis this week and early reports suggested they were entirely safe.
In Australia and the US it has been a different story. One mother from Arkansas told ABC television how her 20-month-old son went limp after playing with beads from his older sister's Aqua Dots set. "That's when we knew what he had eaten and that things were pretty bad," Shelby Esses said.
The boy's doctor, Matt Jaeger, added: "It was pretty dramatic. He was unconscious in this coma for about six hours. And then, over the course of just a few minutes, went from being completely asleep to wide awake and playing like nothing ever happened."
The scare is the latest blow to the industry in the commercial run-up to Christmas and damages further the reputation of Chinese goods, which account for more than 60% of global toy sales. This year the giant Mattel recalled more than 21m toys made in China from its global outlets after concerns were raised about detachable parts and lead paint which can cause brain damage in children.
The image of the "made in China" label has been particularly battered in the US, where there have been a record-breaking 472 recalls this year, particularly of toys, pet food and tyres.
Recent surveys of American parents suggest that a third have decided to avoid all Chinese-made goods as they plan their Christmas shopping.
On Wednesday US authorities announced a separate recall of more than 400,000 children's products, mainly toys sold at dollar stores, with dangerous levels of lead.
Bindeez/Aqua Dots kits are made up of small beads that can be stuck together to make shapes and designs once they are sprayed with water. It has proved to be wildly popular - it was voted 2007 Australian Toy of the Year and 12m packets, containing more than 8bn beads, have been sold worldwide.
The normal product is coated with a harmless glue made from a chemical, 1,5-pentanediol. In the faulty batches the glue was replaced by 1,4-butanediol, a chemical which when taken into the body breaks down into a poison similar in composition to liquid ecstasy, or gamma hydroxy butyrate. The drug, which is also known as GBH or fantasy, is a well-known dance drug, inducing a degree of sedation, and has been linked to cases of date rape.
It remained unclear last night whether the chemicals were intentionally or mistakenly swapped. Both chemicals are widely used in factories in Shenzhen in China's southern Guangdong province where the beads are thought to have been made before being distributed by the Australian-based firm Moose Enterprise.
The company says it will resupply the product coated with an ingredient that is bitter to the tongue to dissuade children from swallowing the beads.
The Chinese government has attempted to assuage rising fears about the quality of Chinese products by stepping up factory inspections and investing in training on international safety standards. But with the demand for cheap goods continuing to boom, and China's exports growing at an astonishing 28% a year, the country is likely to continue to find it difficult to meet safety standards set in the United States and other highly industrialised nations.
This is going to continue if Li Chan-jiang does not start suing Mattel for defamation.
Hire a U.S. attorney who speaks both Mandarin Chinese and English, a minimum.
Maybe Yiddish too. The weasel Bob Eckert is a Z-gooner who graduated from the University of Arizona with a Master of Defamation degree. Sue the son of a gun now.