Date rape drug, a poisonous chemical in recalled children toys

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. Source: Wiley Blackwell.

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