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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 November 2007, 05:18 GMT
GHB fears for Chinese-made toys
Bindeez toy
The children who swallowed the beads have now recovered
Millions of Chinese-made toys have been recalled in the US and Australia after they were found to contain a substance linked to the date-rape drug GHB.

A total of five children were taken to hospital after swallowing tiny beads known as Bindeez in Australia and Aqua Dots in the US.

The beads were coated in chemicals which transformed into the banned drug when swallowed.

It is the latest in a series of safety scares over products made in China.

US toy maker Mattel has recalled more than 20 million Chinese-made toys this year.

Coloured beads

The toy has proved extremely popular in both countries. In 2007, Bindeez was named Australia's Toy of the Year.

The toy consists of hundreds of brightly-coloured beads that can be arranged into a piece of art and sprayed with water to set.

The beads are meant to be coated in a non-toxic glue, but a batch in Australia was found to be covered with a substance that did not match the approved formula.

In Australia, two children in New South Wales and one child in Queensland have been hospitalised in the past two weeks after swallowing the beads.

All three have now recovered, but all of the country's states and territories have now banned the toy.

In the US, two children were affected, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warned. They slipped into comas, but later recovered.

About 4.2 million units of the toy will be recalled in the US, officials said, and about one million in Australia.

Australian-based manufacturer Moose Enterprises said the toys were made at a factory in southern China's Guangdong province.

The firm said Bindeez beads would in future be covered with a "foul-tasting ingredient" to try to ensure children would not eat them.

The fair trading minister in Australia's New South Wales, Linda Burney, said an investigation was under way to determine how batches of the Chinese-made beads failed to match the approved formula.

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