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China Says Bead Toy Contained Toxic Substance


China's state-run news agency says the country's quality control investigation has found a toxic substance was contained in Chinese-produced toy beads that harmed at least five children in Australia and the United States.

Xinhua reported Saturday that Chinese authorities have suspended the toymaker's export license. It is believed all the beads were produced at the same factory in the southern city of Shenzen.

On Friday, China's safety administration halted the export of the toy beads that had already been recalled in the United States, Australia and South Africa.

The toy beads were sold under the name Bindeez or Aqua Dots.

When swallowed, an adhesive coating on the beads reacts with digestive enzymes to make a powerful sedative that has caused unconsciousness, seizures or respiratory distress in several children. The children affected by the chemical have since recovered.

The toys were supposed to be covered by a harmless coating, but on some of the beads it appears that a toxic substance that metabolizes into a so-called date-rape drug known as GHB (gamma hydroxy butyrate) was used instead.

Moose Enterprises, the Chinese producer of the toy, says it now plans to coat the beads with a bitter tasting substance that will discourage kids from eating them.

The recalls are the latest in a series of problems that have seen 21 million Chinese-made toys pulled from store shelves world wide because of lead paint and other hazards.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.