Aqua Dots story hits too close to home; Consumer Product Safety Commission orders recall of 4.2 million units in U.S.

aquadots.jpg"I want that."

It's a phrase I hear almost daily when my son sees some toy on television that he'd like to add to an already out of control collection.  Sometimes we respond, sometimes we ignore, but the ratio of toys purchased from that approach is about 1 in 50.  That one purchase was Aqua Dots.

Since brining Aqua Dots into our home, I had been pretty well pleased.  The commercials were cheesy. So too was the toy and the designs that kids could make.  But my son was working with his hands, creating designs for which he could be proud.

On Thursday afternoon the cable guy comes to check our internet service and his work took him to my desk. "Are those Aqua Dots?" he asked my wife when he saw a dog that my son had created and given me for a gift.  "Yeah" she said, sensing something strange in his tone.  

The cable guy told her about the Aqua Dots recall and the effects that they have had on some children who ingested them.  She immediately went to the Channel 5 News website and found out children have suffered comas, seizure-like spasms and other strange symptoms as a result of Aqua Dots.

channel-5-photo.jpgAs a matter of fact, Channel 5 has the story of a Ft. Worth boy who was misdiagnosed with a stomach virus after eating Aqua Dots.  The boy's mother said "He was spinning on his head, just doing very bizarre things, looking at me with really wide eyes and laughing hysterically.”

After her research, my wife sent me a text message that said Aqua Dots have date rape drug effect. I called her immediately for clarifications about the text regarding the product that my son had enjoyed so much.

She explained the whole situation to me, and I was shocked to learn the toy that we purchased about 2 months ago was causing such harm.  The danger to my son isn't as great at his age, but I thought about what would have happened if our goddaughter had gotten a hold of a few Aqua Dots while crawling around on our floor.  When I made it home, the Aqua Dots set and all of our sons creations had been disposed of.   

A report in the New York Times by Keith Bradshear is a good recap of how the risk caused by the Chinese made toy was discovered .  It seems much of the credit for solving these mysterious incidents goes to Dr. Kevin Carpenter, a biochemical geneticist in Sydney, Australia. Ironically, Aqua Dots had once been voted Australia's Toy of the Year.  Dr. Carpenter can count my wife and I as parents who are thankful for his diligence.

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