Sydney, Nov 6 (UNI) Named Australian toy of the year 2007, Bindeez has been banned in the country as the colourful beads release a compound closely resembling the illegal drug GHB when they are swallowed.
Bindeez are small toy 'magic beads' which are sold in most major department and toy stores. In the past week-and-a-half a two-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl swallowed large amounts of the beads and became seriously ill.
Dr Naren Gunja from the Poisons Information Centre said when the beads are swallowed they metabolise into a chemical similar to GHB, which is the main ingredient in the illegal drug known as Grievous Bodily Harm.
''It can cause seizure-like activity and fitting, and both the children that presented to the Children's Hospital at Westmead had these symptoms,'' she was quoted by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation as saying.
''Which is why we feel that it is quite serious effects and potentially life threatening,'' she added.
New South Wales (NSW) Office of Fair Trading manager of safety and standards Steve Hutchinson said his office was investigating the product.
''It seems from all of the documentation and the results that we've got so far that it [the poisoning] is not deliberate, what we don't know [is] if someone else has done something deliberate to them,'' he said.
NSW Fair Trading Minister Linda Burney has announced an immediate product recall pending further testing.
''We will advise parents as more information comes along but if you have Bindeez in your home, please remove them from anywhere where children can actually get to them, play with them and use them,'' she said.