You can’t always depend on manufacturers and corporation to do the right thing, or for that matter follow federal regulations, when it comes to selling banned hazardous products to the general public. But at least Grand Rapids consumers as well as consumers across the country and our neighbors to the north, Canada, will know companies who don’t follow federal regulations will have to pay for their misdeeds. Unfortunately, children may suffer in the meantime.
The $1.3 million civil penalty settlement resolves staff allegations that Spin Master knowingly failed to report the defect and hazard associated with their product, Aqua Dots, to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC, immediately, as required by law. The settlement also resolves allegations that Spin Master knowingly imported Aqua Dots, which were toxic and a banned hazardous substance, also in violation of federal law.
Spin Master, Inc., of Los Angeles, California, and Spin Master Ltd. of Toronto, Canada, have agreed to pay the $1.3 million civil penalty, although in agreeing to the settlement, Spin Master denies CPSC staff allegations that it knowingly violated the law.
Aqua Dots was a children’s craft kit and toy that consisted of tiny beads of different colors that stuck together when sprayed with water, allowing children to create various shapes and designs.
CPSC alleges that by the middle of 2007, Spin Master had received reports that children, and a dog, had become ill and received emergency medical treatment after ingesting Aqua Dots. On October 18, 2007, Spin Master learned that Aqua Dots contained 1,4-butylene glycol (TMG), which upon ingestion, metabolizes to the controlled substance gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB). The following day, Spin Master learned that TMG is harmful if swallowed, and upon ingestion, targets the kidneys and central nervous system.
Spin Master and CPSC continued to receive reports of children becoming ill after ingesting Aqua Dots, including children falling into comas, and requiring hospitalization. On November 7, 2007, Spin Master and CPSC announced a voluntary recall of about 4.2 million units of Aqua Dots. The recall announcement reported that children who swallow the beads can become comatose, develop respiratory depression, or suffer seizures.
Spin Master had enlisted an outside testing company to evaluate the toxicity of the product, however, it was determined the testing was inadequate.
Federal law requires manufacturers, retailers, and distributors to report to CPSC within 24 hours after obtaining information reasonably supporting the conclusion that a product contains a defect which could create a substantial product hazard, creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death, or fails to comply with any consumer product safety rule, regulation, standard, or ban enforced by CPSC.
CPSC civil penalty announcement
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