AP source: Gov't to levy hefty fine in toy case

AP News
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Posted: Oct 26, 2011 10:39 PM
AP source: Gov't to levy hefty fine in toy case

A toy company that sold popular arts-and-crafts beads that sickened about a dozen children has agreed to pay the federal government a $1.3 million fine.

It would mark the third largest toy-related penalty issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, according to a government official who agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity ahead of the expected announcement Thursday morning.

The Aqua Dots toy beads were imported by Spin Master, based in Toronto with a subsidiary in Los Angeles, in 2007. The toys were recalled after tests showed they were coated with a chemical that, when ingested, can metabolize into the so-called "date-rape" drug gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB). The compound can induce unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death.

The commission alleged that Spin Master knowingly failed to report a defect and hazard associated with Aqua Dots. It also accused the company of knowingly importing and selling a banned hazardous substance.

Spin Master has agreed to the settlement, the official said, but denies allegations that it knowingly violated the law.

The toys consisted of tiny colored beads that stick together when sprayed with water, forming fun designs and shapes. About 4 million of the kits were recalled in November 2007.