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The Consumer Product Safety Commission imposed the third largest toy-related this week against a California toy company that sold the defective and dangerous arts-and-crafts beads Aqua Dots,  that were linked to a dangerous drug and sickened about a dozen children.

The civil penalty, announced Thursday, was levied against Spin Master, Inc of Los Angeles, which imported the product in 2007.

The Aqua Dots Toy Beads were recalled after tests showed they were coated with a chemical that, when ingested, can metabolize into gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which is commonly referred to as the date rape drug. The compound can induce unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death.

The toys consisted of tiny colored beads that stick together when sprayed with water to form designs. About 4 million of the kits were recalled in November 2007.

THE CPSC alleges that by the middle of October of 2007, Spin Master has received several complaints of children and even one dog becoming sick after ingesting the product but did not report the hazard to the CPSC.

In early November 2007, the CPSC received two reports of children who had ingested the product, become ill, fallen into a coma and required hospitalization. On November 5, 2007, CPSC staff notified Spin Master of the complaints and two days later a recall was issued.

The commission alleged that Spin Master knowingly failed to report a defect and hazard associated with Aqua Dots. It also accused the company of knowingly importing and selling a banned hazardous substance. CPSC said Spin Master, based in Toronto with a subsidiary in Los Angeles, agreed to the settlement but denies allegations that it knowingly violated the law.

The commission says Spin Master had enlisted an outside testing company to see whether the toy beads were safe, but the testing was inadequate.

Spin Masters website has a list of toys that it is still selling. We encourage parents to not only check the safety of the toy but the safety record of a company.

A company that receives reports of children becoming ill and not reporting it immediately and taking every step possible to prevent more children from becoming ill; would seem to be more concerned with it’s bottom line than the safety and well being of the children using their toys.

Consumers can obtain product safety information on the CPSC website.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a defective product, contact the defective product lawyers at the Alexander Law Group, LLP for a free case evaluation or call 888.777.1776. All calls free and confidential.