Priests don't have Sh!t on China!
November 8, 2007 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Straight from China, new for this Christmas shopping season! Tire of hearing noisy children? Wish there was a way to quite them down, but chloroforming isn't your style? Buy them AQUA DOTS! (Bindeez Beans if Australian) The only (hopefully) play toy that comes covered in GHB. Another fine product from Outsourcing!

First post btw
posted by Mastercheddaar (63 comments total)
 
Yeah, my kids have been begging for those - good thing I'm a cheap @ss bastard and the Christmas shopping was done in September.

... although ....
posted by jkaczor at 6:28 AM on November 8, 2007


Now I can go to sleep easier knowing that my four-year-old daughter Kathy isn't giving up as easy as I thought she was.
posted by phaedon at 6:29 AM on November 8, 2007


David Copperfield called, he was wondering where you could buy Aqua Dots. Can anyone help him?
posted by girard31 at 6:32 AM on November 8, 2007


Actually - while initially funny - this is making me more and more furious...

I think it's time to return every toy we have already purchased - and give them the reason - I don't want to wait for another recall ;-)

Take the money and go on a trip, or buy some video games.

I would normally say - stick to Lego, but I gather they have or are outsourcing their manufacturing as well.
posted by jkaczor at 6:36 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Once again terrible news counteracts worse news: The weakening dollar is actually working to keep our children safe.
posted by DU at 6:39 AM on November 8, 2007


BUY AMERICAN!!!11!
posted by chunking express at 6:39 AM on November 8, 2007


Is that a stack of Yuan in your pocket or are you happy to see me?
posted by phaedon at 6:40 AM on November 8, 2007


Man, I saw an ad for this toy not too long ago and thought, "wow, that's neat!" I would have bought some when I saw it on the shelf at Toys-R-Us, but the refills were monstrously expensive. If only I had only known that I could drop them into people's drinks! "Hey, yeah, remember that Orbitz drink with the little wax balls? Yeah, that's what you're drinking. Come on, down in one, I don't have all night."
posted by uncleozzy at 6:42 AM on November 8, 2007


Each day, I hate China a little more.
posted by SPUTNIK at 6:45 AM on November 8, 2007


Apparently these contain some other chemical, that, when digested, converts into GHB? How utterly bizarre.... it ends up being time-released, and eventually in such massive doses it can cause comas.
posted by mek at 6:48 AM on November 8, 2007


But look on the bright side, they're lead-free!
posted by tommasz at 6:51 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


So, is the increased media reportage of cheap, shoddy, dangerous Chinese goods due to an actual increase of cheap, shoddy, dangerous goods imported from China? Or is there just more coverage lately? I mean, I've known Chinese plastic crap was suspiciously cheap and shoddy for years, but I never remember it getting this much press. There's something in the news every week lately.
posted by Cookiebastard at 6:52 AM on November 8, 2007


This is elementary metaphysics people. Whenever a powerful force on one side emerges, an equally powerful force arises on the other side to achieve balance. The introduction of GHB into children's toys was bound to happen once To Catch a Predator premiered. You've cock-blocked for the last time Chris Hansen!
posted by ND¢ at 6:53 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Don't worry, everyone. The United States will eventually collapse, and as the decades trudge on eventually the roles will reverse and China will use the US as a factory state with poor regulations and cheap labor. When that day comes, the US will inevitably produce dangerous toys for Chinese children and the circle will be complete.
posted by mullingitover at 6:56 AM on November 8, 2007 [10 favorites]


chunking express: "BUY AMERICAN!!!11!"

Buy American what? We don't make anything.
posted by octothorpe at 6:59 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


I saw this on the airport tv and couldn't believe it, then forgot about it until I saw it here. I used to make GHB in my kitchen before it became Schedule 1 in the US. Then I took too much of it in a scary incident that I'm lucky I survived and I don't make it or take it anymore.

it ends up being time-released, and eventually in such massive doses it can cause comas.

Actually it takes very little GHB to put you into a coma which is why it's so popular as a date-rape drug and pretty risky as a club drug. The chemical that was used on the toy was probably GBL, according to Wikipedia "Some chemicals convert to GHB in the stomach and blood. GBL, or gamma-butyrolactone, is one such prodrug. Other prodrugs include 1,4-butanediol."

The thing about GBL is that it's basically a paint stripper with this weird side effect of being combinable into this drug or metabolizing into it. The media, as with all drug stories, is making this into something different than it is. I'm not saying it's bad, of course it is, but finding GBL in a kid's toy is not that crazy if you know what GBL is. I bet it will be turning up all over the place once they know to start looking for it.
posted by jessamyn at 6:59 AM on November 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


Actually, the coma "victims" are merely reliving their happiest memories! And will get to live in the fancy new Aqua Dots Comatorium!
posted by hermitosis at 7:00 AM on November 8, 2007


octothorpe writes "We don't make anything."

We make metric shitloads of entertainment. You can diss on LA all you want, but it's actually exporting something.
posted by mullingitover at 7:17 AM on November 8, 2007


No, really, all kidding aside, this is but the tippy-tip of the Great Chinese Consumer Deathtrap Iceberg.

Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics = rapacious, unregulated, state-abetted, women-and-kids-last gold rush. And the U.S. actually gets the higher class of toxic products. What the PRC sells the developing world is eligible for Superfund cleanup.
posted by the sobsister at 7:21 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


It cracked me up the other day to see a pro-toy-regulation article in the Wall Street Journal -- this type of completely unregulated "oh the industry can police itself!" bullshit is exactly what they've been peddling for years.
posted by mathowie at 7:27 AM on November 8, 2007 [6 favorites]


It sucks that these toys are coated in a dangerous chemical, but why are kids swallowing the beads anyway? I don't think any part of the toy is intended to be swallowed- it sounds like partially a problem of lack of supervision of kids too young to not eat everything.
posted by Secretariat at 7:36 AM on November 8, 2007


It cracked me up the other day to see a pro-toy-regulation article in the Wall Street Journal -- this type of completely unregulated "oh the industry can police itself!" bullshit is exactly what they've been peddling for years.


Its all the work of that commie Murdoch.

Actually, it might be. He's engaged in a long term battle to open China to (his) satellite broadcasts. The Journal may be the perfect tool for that battle.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:41 AM on November 8, 2007


But will it help me get the bloodstains out of the clown suit?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:47 AM on November 8, 2007


I almost forgot the rap lyric that I wrote this morning:

I'm a 100 Grand and you're an Almond Joy
I'll put more lead in you than a Chinese toy


E-mails in profile Jay Z. I only accept payment in Euros.
posted by ND¢ at 7:48 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


While you're crapping on China for making all these dangerous products, make sure you save some time to shit on the non-Chinese companies that are having this stuff made for them, and doing little if any oversight, and of course the governments who let industries police themselves. Plenty of blame to go around on this.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 7:52 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Any that can be applied to Iran? Cause that would really help these guys out.
posted by ND¢ at 7:55 AM on November 8, 2007


Well, gee, what are these parents thinking buying stuff like this? The kids should be playing video games and watching tv. No more, no less.
posted by inigo2 at 8:01 AM on November 8, 2007


It sucks that these toys are coated in a dangerous chemical, but why are kids swallowing the beads anyway? I don't think any part of the toy is intended to be swallowed

Have you seen pictures of this toy? They look like candy and I'm betting that the first thing any kid will do after picking one up is eat a couple. Kids put everything in their mouth - especially after you tell them not to.
posted by jeffmik at 8:21 AM on November 8, 2007


why are kids swallowing the beads anyway?

Have you actually MET any children?
posted by hermitosis at 8:29 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


We don't make anything.

Sure we do! We make Pretty Peggy Ear-Piercing Set, Mr. Skin-Grafter, General Tron's Secret Police Confession Kit, Doggie Dentist, and Johnny Switchblade: Adventure Punk. Not to mention Bag O' Glass, Bag O' Nails, Bag O' Bugs, Bag O' Vipers, Bag O' Sulfuric Acid, and Teddy Chainsaw Bear.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 8:29 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


It all makes sense now why my kids kept packaging these dots 10-per-baggie and selling them to friends...Now that's what I call an entrepreneurial spirit.
posted by JibberJabber at 8:30 AM on November 8, 2007


her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte, who was sickened by the beads.

Isn't 10 a bit old to be indiscriminately eating toys? I mean, the media would like me to believe that 10 year olds are running around in miniskirts having orgies, so I'd think they'd have grown out of the stage of just popping things into their mouth- oh. Ok, guess not.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 8:32 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Both GBL and butanediol are made in tank-truck quantities because they're important in the plastics industry (type them into one of those 'industrial product finder'-type search engines and you can find people selling it by the ton), among other things. I suspect if you start looking, you probably have products that contain both around the house. You just don't typically eat them, so it's not a problem.

Of course, I'm waiting for the inevitable "omg children" ban that will make you a felon for possessing engine degreaser or something.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:38 AM on November 8, 2007


I'm so glad /b/tards work in Chinese toy manufacturing.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:43 AM on November 8, 2007


If I was playing with these beads for any amount of time, it's virtually guaranteed that I'd pop one in my mouth and roll it around, and not out of the question that I'd accidentally swallow one.

Then again, I ate a granola bar I found on the sidewalk.
posted by hermitosis at 8:43 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics = rapacious, unregulated, state-abetted, women-and-kids-last gold rush.

OMG CHINA SUCKS AMIRITE

The United States, of course, was never, ever like this.
posted by killdevil at 8:50 AM on November 8, 2007


Isn't 10 a bit old to be indiscriminately eating toys?

What about chewing on them, sucking on a pencil, etc?

While my daughter (9) wouldn't, the boy (4) chews on every damn thing he picks up - lego, straws, basically any plastic toy. Oh, and he is eating his shirts too (from the neck out)...

Do you want to know the average of how many times per hour I tell him to stop? Or per day? Should I "beat" it outta him? Sure, some people may suggest the StopNailBiting thing - but I cannot douse the entire house...

But - then again... I still chew on straws, pencils, etc. Hell, even the odd piece of lego now and then...
posted by jkaczor at 8:51 AM on November 8, 2007


I was making a very very bad oral sex joke, is all.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 9:09 AM on November 8, 2007


Do you want to know the average of how many times per hour I tell him to stop? Or per day? Should I "beat" it outta him? Sure, some people may suggest the StopNailBiting thing - but I cannot douse the entire house...

You could always strap some sort of muzzle or Hannibal Lecter mask on him. Of course, the mask would need a finer grill/mesh over the mouth... and it could probably do with some cheerful kiddy colours and designs on it.

Hmm...

User is Away - BRB, patent office
posted by CKmtl at 9:18 AM on November 8, 2007


I actually find the amount of anti-china stories in the press now interesting. It's like, back when China was just executing dissidents and stifling free speech it wasn't particularly interesting.
posted by chunking express at 9:19 AM on November 8, 2007


we don't make anything.

how about the world's most advanced weapons systems?
posted by bruce at 9:19 AM on November 8, 2007


>Dormant

Just venting - I know it was a joke.
posted by jkaczor at 9:24 AM on November 8, 2007


how about the world's most advanced weapons system

I use that pick-up line all the time. That, and:

"I say you & me take off and nuke the bed from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

Drives 'em ballistic.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:26 AM on November 8, 2007


>CKmtl

Wicked - actually, just add a few plastic extrusions on the interior and keep the look of the mask the same - I'd love to take him to the grocery store with a Hannibal-mask and terrorize the other parents.
posted by jkaczor at 9:26 AM on November 8, 2007


Here are a couple of questions for all the China + capitalism = bad folks out there:

1) How do you know that 'the industry' is not policing itself with regard to toxins in imported goods? I put 'the industry' in quotes because, while on some level, it is a unitary thing, there are many, many products being made in many, many independent factories, the owners of each of which have strong incentives to police themselves. If they can't turn out safe products, the companies that hire them will stop outsourcing, lest their (presumably otherwise good) names get ruined. There is even some evidence that some Chinese manufacturers are working to establish their own brands (as safe and good, mind you) as a means to counteract negative press about the dangers of items labeled 'made in China'.

2) How many products come from China that are safe and go unnoticed because they function as intended, and what is their worth relative to the cost of the bad imports? Yes, there have been a number of recalls, and it's clear that it's not desirable to have unreasonably unsafe toys all over the market, but what proportion of 'made in China' imports are unreasonably unsafe? Are unsafe toys really flooding our markets? I'd be willing to bet it's a very small proportion. It's my understanding that people are pretty bad about overestimating low probability dangers, and it's easy to make the case that Americans as a whole are well on their (i.e., our) way to becoming panic stricken fear mongers (or would that be fear mongees?).

In conclusion, China is bad, m'kay?

Noah
posted by noahpoah at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2007


How many products come from China that are safe and go unnoticed because they function as intended, and what is their worth relative to the cost of the bad imports?

Boy, isn't that always the way. C'mon people, there are lots of toys that AREN'T putting children into comas, how come you don't focus on them?
posted by redhanrahan at 9:47 AM on November 8, 2007


Then again, I ate a granola bar I found on the sidewalk.

GODDAMMIT, I WAS SAVING THAT!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:49 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


If they can't turn out safe products, the companies that hire them will stop outsourcing

So let's help the industry along, and every time they turn out unsafe products, or are revealed to be utilizing immoral and exploitive labor practices we raise a big stink and refuse to buy their products. Seems like it's the best way to help the industry change to me.
posted by redhanrahan at 9:50 AM on November 8, 2007


Boy, isn't that always the way. C'mon people, there are lots of toys that AREN'T putting children into comas, how come you don't focus on them?

I didn't say that we should focus on the safe toys, I said (or at least implied) that we should take them into account when assessing the situation.

let's help the industry along, and every time they turn out unsafe products, or are revealed to be utilizing immoral and exploitive labor practices we raise a big stink and refuse to buy their products. Seems like it's the best way to help the industry change to me.

I don't have a problem with this. If you can get enough people to agree, it would definitely have an impact. In fact, this is exactly the incentive that these companies have to produce safe toys (and dog food). My problem is with legislators making these decisions for us (and people that want legislators to do so).

Note that I'm not asserting that you [redhanrahan] did or did not call for regulation to address this issue. I'm just arguing against the assumption/assertion that more regulation is the right move.
posted by noahpoah at 10:18 AM on November 8, 2007


how about the world's most advanced weapons systems?

I would tell you about the miltary testing labs, where kids lick missiles all day behind a barbed-wire fence, and a cigar-chomping general yells at lab techs with clipboards to take down all the data for national security — but this is all top secret stuff, sorry.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:22 AM on November 8, 2007


Boy, isn't that always the way. C'mon people, there are lots of toys that AREN'T putting children into comas, how come you don't focus on them?

We shouldn't have to pat a person on the back when they put out a "safe toy". I'm sorry this is something my God-Daughter would probably have asked me for. All kidding aside, if something is this unsafe for our children I'm not going to say "hey wow at least the rest of this junk is safe for our kids." Not saying that it would be any better if it was made over here but they might get a my kids are not playing with it kinda attitude. Also I'm not saying ban GHL it has a purpose. But don't put chemicals that are deadly if swallowed on a toy! Engine degreaser is ok because I'm not going to drink it. I am an adult, but a toy.... children try to eat anything. Lastly maybe we should inspect the "safe toys" a little closer. This might be like a cockroach... ya see one you got hundreds....

that is all

Mastercheddaar
posted by Mastercheddaar at 10:56 AM on November 8, 2007


First, China wanted to poison us. That was to be expected.
But now they want to date-rape our children. They've ALMOST crossed the line!

To echo the sentiment in just about every comment here, it's what you reap when you decide to sow the cheapest manufacturing possible. There has to be an expense at some point, and we've been very content in ignoring it when it was manifest on the Chinese labor side.

It does sound so very "raver" to go down to the local toy store, decked out in your "glow" outfit, and buy some "dotz" to dance to some electro/house all night long, though.
posted by thanatogenous at 10:58 AM on November 8, 2007


So...

Where exactly could I pick up some of these AquaDots?
posted by quin at 10:58 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


American companies have to accept some responsibility for these recalls. Mattel recently recalled a couple million toys because they used lead based paint. This seems like the sort of thing that they should never have allowed in the first place. They also recently recalled a far larger number of toys because children were swallowing strong magnets. Mattel went so far as apologize to a Chinese official as this flaw was a design issue. My uneducated guess is that this is a similar incident. These Aqua Dots were probably made exactly to the specifications of the American companies that were buying them.

Also, something like 80% of our toys are made in China. So it shouldn't be any surprise that a large majority of toy recalls involve China.

None of this should absolve China of whatever responsibility they might actually have but it certainly highlights the hysteria of those who think no Chinese products are safe.
posted by stuart_s at 11:16 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


The spirit of Todd Lokken seems to be haunting this thread. Must be all the Aqua Dots I ate after breakfast.
posted by item at 11:25 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's my understanding that people are pretty bad about overestimating low probability dangers, and it's easy to make the case that Americans as a whole are well on their (i.e., our) way to becoming panic stricken fear mongers (or would that be fear mongees?).

I really don't see this reaction as disproportional at all.

I think your correlation would be correct if, say, a single unit of "Aqua Dots" were found with a scorpion in it, and that forced the entire population into a panic which eventually led to "scorpion toy detection machines". The "aqua dots" reality is a very different situation, even if, as you pointed out, the ratio of safe toys to unsafe toys is still a very wide chasm.

A toy, intended for very young children(likely to swallow pieces), was manufactured and passed through the echelons of inspection to make it on to the shelf covered in GBL. This is a flag to many consumers. It's a flag that illustrates that there is a disconnect between those manufacturing the product and those envisioning its purpose. Carelessness.
Bringing these things to light is an attempt to, through bad PR, provide a conscience for the producers of these toys. Make it bad business to neglect the fact that your toys contain the date-rape drug.

Since there is no fucking way to shift the Chinese manufacturing paradigm. (Insert ironic "buy American!" here)
posted by thanatogenous at 11:30 AM on November 8, 2007


killdevil -

my point was not that the U.S. is innocent of rapacious capitalism, be it 100 years ago or last week. my point was more along the lines of: gee, wouldn't it be great if fuck-any/everything-over-for-a-profit weren't a required stage in economic development?

the Chinese have had the benefit of time and isolation to see what works in fostering their economic model. if the central government and its economic planners choose to let greedy entrepreneurs and corrupt officials (redundant, I know) foist whatever's cheapest and fastest out the door with zero QC and regulation (stopping only to shoot an occasional miscreant for effect), then, yes, they suck.
posted by the sobsister at 12:36 PM on November 8, 2007


Thankfully, the Helen Lovejoys' of America are here to protect our children from the evil Chinese, whom I've heard EAT their own children only AFTER forcing them to swallow fist-fulls of Aqua Dots, play with fireworks unsupervised, farm for gold on WoW, and read Harry Potter, all at the same time!!!!!!
posted by Brocktoon at 12:41 PM on November 8, 2007


I didn't know Mainway Toys was outsourcing to China.

They did the good stuff -- Johnny Switchblade, Bag O' Broken Glass ... ah, childhood.
posted by chuq at 2:20 PM on November 8, 2007


Next: K-hole on the Dancefloor Party Playset
posted by yoHighness at 4:03 PM on November 8, 2007


I really don't see this reaction as disproportional at all.... Bringing these things to light is an attempt to, through bad PR, provide a conscience for the producers of these toys.

I don't have any problem with bad PR for the companies responsible. In fact, that's exactly what I would expect to happen. My point was to argue against a knee-jerk call for Congress to step in and 'fix' the problem.

I brought up Americans' panic-stricken-ness in this context. I didn't provide details about my own position, choosing to pose questions for others instead.
posted by noahpoah at 5:57 PM on November 8, 2007




Aqua Dots: for when you want your kids to swallow more than beads.
posted by the_bone at 1:17 AM on November 10, 2007


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