RECALL: AQUA DOTS FOUND TO POSE DANGER
Isle stores remove toy
ASSOCIATED PRESS / AQUA DOTS, CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION
This undated handout photo provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission shows Aqua Dots, a Chinese-made toy, that was recalled Wednesday by the safety commission. Its beads contain a chemical that metabolizes into a date-rape drug when ingested.
Hawaii toy stores were among the U.S. retailers nationwide that removed the toy Aqua Dots from shelves because its small beads contain a chemical that metabolizes into a "date rape" drug when ingested.
The major retailers that pulled the craft-kit product labeled for children 4 years old and older from its shelves include Toys "R" Us, KB Toys, Wal-Mart and Kmart.
Kmart spokeswoman Kim Freely said they have updated their registers to prevent any Aqua Dots products from being sold to customers. Kmart has more than 1,300 stores nationwide, including seven in Hawaii.
An employee at Kmart in Honolulu said they cleared their shelves of the product early yesterday.
A majority of the retail chains, including Wal-Mart, also put an electronic stop on their registers to block sales of the recalled product.
In a written statement, Geoffrey Webb, director of advertising and sales promotion for KB Toys, said an urgent notification was sent to all stores Wednesday night. The products were removed from store shelves early yesterday and will be returned to the manufacturer.
KB Toys, which has seven stores in Hawaii, also programmed its registers to block the sale of Aqua Dots and any other recalled merchandise.
With Aqua Dots, children can create designs using the small beads that fuse together when sprayed with water, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall applies to all Aqua Dots models sold between April and the present.
The popular holiday toy is distributed by Toronto-based Spin Master Toys. It is called Bindeez in Australia, where it was named toy of the year at an industry function earlier this year.
Bindeez and Aqua Dots are made at the same factory in Shenzhen in China's southern Guangdong province.
Scientists say a chemical coating on the beads, when ingested, metabolizes into the so-called date-rape drug gamma hydroxybutyrate. When eaten the compound can induce unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death.
Two children in the United States and three in Australia were hospitalized after swallowing the beads. The two U.S. children went into nonresponsive comas, said Scott Wolfson, spokesman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, yesterday. A 20-month-old has recovered, while the other child, whose age was not known, has been released from a hospital after five days and is recovering, he said.
Star-Bulletin reporter Rosemarie Bernardo and the Associated Press contributed to this report.