China says bead toy contained toxic substances

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BEIJING, Nov 10 (Reuters) China's quality control watchdog said today initial investigations had found bead toys recently recalled in the United States and Australia contained toxic substances, the Xinhua news agency reported.

US safety officials recalled about 4.2 million Aqua Dots toys this week for possibly containing a ''date rape'' drug.

Australia too announced a ban on the popular toy, sold there in a version called ''Bindeez'', and Spain also announced a recall.

China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said the toys, products of Australia-based Moose Enterprises, were manufactured by the Wangqi Product Factory in China's southern city of Shenzhen.

China froze exports of the ''Aqua Dots'' yesterday and the AQSIQ said today it had also suspended the toy maker's export licence.

The quality watchdog, battling a string of international recalls and safety scares that have stained the ''made-in-China'' brand, had promised a swift investigation.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said the Aqua Dots toys contain a chemical, 1,4 butanediol, which can turn toxic if swallowed and cause unconsciousness, earning it notoriety as a ''date rape'' drug.

''The beads contain an adhesive solvent called ''1,4 butylene glycol'' that simulates the drug gamma hydroxy if swallowed,'' Xinhua said.

The toy involves arranging small, multi-coloured beads coated with glue into shapes and then spraying them with water to fix them together. Two American and three Australian children were hospitalised after playing with it.

REUTERS PJ HT2304

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