Half a million toys recalled in chemical scareMakers say no cases of illness in the UK

10 November 2007

Up to 500,000 Bindeez children's craft toys are being recalled across the UK and Ireland by an Oldham-based firm after concerns that the product contains a chemical that converts to a powerful 'date rape' drug when ingested.

Character Group - the UK distributor of Bindeez toys - has asked retailers and consumers to return the products following reports that children in the US and Australia have been taken to hospital after swallowing the beads.

The firm said there have been no cases of illness reported in the UK and Ireland, but said the voluntary recall was issued as a precautionary measure.

Toxicology test

Richard King, chairman of Character Group, said: 'We believe that the product we have is safe, but it's going to be some time until we get results of the toxicology test reports and rather than take a chance, safety is of prime importance and therefore we have taken this precaution.'

Scientists have said a chemical coating on the beads, when ingested, metabolises into the 'date rape' drug gamma hydroxy butyrate.

Character Group said it believed an "unapproved formulation" might have been used in the manufacturing process.

Replacement products will be sent to all consumers and retailers affected by the recall, with the new supplies available from the first week of December.

Popular toy

Bindeez bead toys are one of Character's most popular product ranges, accounting for 5% of the group's turnover.

Consumers with concerns about the products should call the recall helpline 0800 023 4529 in the UK and +44 161 633 9808 in Ireland.

Parents can also email customercare@charactergroup.plc.uk or visit www.character-online.co.uk for more details.

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