Friday, November 09, 2007

Bindeez and Aqua Dots

As many are aware by now, there's been a lot of interest in Bindeez beads, the toy beads that can turn toxic if or when ingested. I first read about this in the New York Times, which reported how doctors treating a comatose child in Australia, first discovered that a solvent used in production of the beads, once ingested, can be metabolized into the infamous date-rape drug, GHB.

According to news reports, ingestion of these beads have led to additional hospitalizations, both in Austrailia and here in the U.S. where the beads were sold as Aqua-beads.

Both countries have issued recalls or bans for the products.

That industrial solvent, 1,4-butanediol according to an article by Rueters was apparently used by some manufacturers in China, in place of the less potentially toxic solvent 1,5-pentanediol. The intense news coverage has led
Science blogs to name 1,4-butanediol "Molecule of the Day."

Scienceblogs provides brief description of how our alcohol-metabolizing enzymes convert the industrial solvent 1,4-butanediol into GHB. There's also an interesting educational site about the conversion of 1,4-butanediol at Neuroscience for Kids.

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