Australian officials were forced to remove a popular toy from store shelves after it was found to contain a chemical that can have hallucinogenic side-effects.
The toy, Bindeez, contains hundreds of small beads that are covered in a chemical which turns into the illegal drug gamma-hydroxy butyrate (GHB), also known as fantasy, when swallowed.
Authorities in several states issued an urgent recall of the product, named 2007 toy of the year in Australia, after a number of children became seriously ill when they swallowed them.
Dr Naren Gunja, deputy medical director of the Poisons Information Centre at the Westmead Children’s Hospital, said a two-year-old and a 10-year-old had been admitted to hospital in New South Wales after ingesting the beads.
Each suffered seizures and were unconscious when they got to hospital, leading to fears that the poison could be fatal. However, both children have since recovered.
Australian officials are investigating whether the beads – reportedly made in Hong Kong – were deliberately covered in the chemical.