Journal of Medical Toxicology

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 120–124 | Cite as

1,4-butanediol content of aqua dots children’s craft toy beads

  • Jeffrey R. Suchard
  • Sergey A. Nizkorodov
  • Stacy Wilkinson
Toxicology Investigations

Abstract

Introduction

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall of Aqua Dots (Spin Master Ltd.; Toronto, Canada) on November 7, 2007 due to children becoming ill after swallowing beads from these toy craft kits. Reports suggested that the beads contained 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BD), a precursor to gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), rather than the intended, but more expensive 1,5-pentanediol (1,5-PD). We measured the 1,4-BD and 1,5-PD content of Aqua Dots beads to determine if 1,5-PD had been completely substituted with 1,4-BD by the manufacturer, and if the reported clinical effects from swallowing Aqua Dots beads were consistent with the estimated ingested 1,4-BD dose.

Methods

In vitro bench research using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) was performed. Dilute samples of pure 1,4-BD and 1,5-PD in water were used for the calibration of the GC-MS instrument. We then soaked Aqua Dots beads in water for varying durations, and the resultant solutions were analyzed for 1,4-BD and 1,5-PD content.

Results

Aqua Dots beads weighed 79.3 mg each (± 0.6 mg, SD), and contained 13.7% (± 2.4%, SD) 1,4-BD by weight; this corresponds to a 1,4-BD content of 10.8 mg (± 1.9 mg, SD) per bead. No 1,5-PD was detected in any beads.

Conclusions

Aqua Dots beads contained a surprisingly high amount (nearly 14%) of extractable 1,4-BD. No 1,5-PD was detected, corroborating reports that this chemical had been completely replaced with a substitute that is metabolized into GHB after ingestion. Reports of ataxia, vomiting, seizure activity, and self-limited coma in children are consistent with the ingestion of several dozen Aqua Dots beads.

Keywords

1,4-butanediol gamma-hydroxybutyrate poisoning toy 

References

  1. 1.
    Mirpuri D [webpage on the Internet]. Hot Toys of 2007—Toy Wishes Hot Dozen [updated 2007 Oct 11; cited 2008 Nov 22]. Available from: http://toys.about.com/b/2007/10/11/hot-toys-of-2007-toy-wishes-hot-dozen.htmGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lane S [webpage on the Internet]. Bindeez toy banned among GHB drug claim [updated 2007 Nov 6; cited 2008 Nov 22]. Available from: http://www.abc.net.au/worldtoday/content/2007/s2082999.htmGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pilkington E, Pallister D [webpage on the Internet]. Global scare after ecstasy-like chemical found in toy [updated 2007 Nov 8; cited 2008 Nov 22]. Available from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/nov/08/china.australiaGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission [webpage on the Internet]. Spin Master Recalls Aqua Dots—Children Became Unconscious After Swallowing Beads [updated 2007 Nov 7; cited 2008 Nov 22]. Available from: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08074.htmlGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Australian Broadcasting Corporation News [webpage on the Internet]. Bindeez banned over GHB fears [updated 2007 Nov 6; cited 2008 Dec 2]. Available from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/11/06/2082480.htmGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    McCrady M, George M, Leamanczyk L [webpage on the Internet]. Exclusive: Local Child Hospitalized After Ingesting Aqua Dots [updated 2007 Nov 8; cited 2008 Dec 2]. Available from: http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/11107146.htmlGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Harris P [webpage on the Internet]. Aqua Dots latest Chinese-made toy pulled off shelves [updated 2007 Nov 9; cited 2008 Dec 2]. Available from: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4176/is_/ai_n21104923Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bradsher K [webpage on the Internet]. Sleuthing for a danger in toy beads [updated 2007 Nov 8; cited 2008 Dec 2]. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/08/business/worldbusiness/08recall.htmlGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gunja N, Doyle E, Carpenter K, et al. γ-Hydroxybutyrate poisoning from toy beads.Med J Aust 2008:188:54–55.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zvosec DL, Smith SW, McCutcheon R, et al. Adverse events, including death, associated with the use of 1,4-butanediol.N Engl J Med 2001;344:87–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    The Vaults of Erowid [webpage on the Internet]. GHB Basics [updated 2007 May 28; cited 2008 Dec 1]. Available from: http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/ghb/ghb_basics.shtmlGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    The Vaults of Erowid [webpage on the Internet]. GHB Effects [updated 2007 May 28; cited 2008 Dec 1]. Available from: http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/ghb/ghb_effects.shtmlGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    The Vaults of Erowid [webpage on the Internet]. GHB Dosage [updated 2007 May 28; cited 2008 Dec 1]. Available from: http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/ghb/ghb_dose.shtmlGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Runnacles JLM, Stroobant J. Poisoning from toy beads.BMJ 2008;336:110.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jazz Pharmaceuticals. Package insert for Xyrem (sodium oxybate) oral solution.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Squidoo [webpage on the Internet]. Aqua Dots [cited 2008 Dec 3]. Available from: http://www.squidoo.com/aquadotsGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Davies S, Button J, Dargan PI, et al. Analysis of biological samples and beads from a case of Bindeez beads (Aqua Dots) ingestion [abstract].Clin Toxicol 2008;46:596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© American College of Medical Toxicology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey R. Suchard
    • 1
  • Sergey A. Nizkorodov
    • 2
  • Stacy Wilkinson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineUniversity of California, Irvine Medical CenterOrange
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryUniversity of California, IrvineIrvine

Personalised recommendations