Spin Master, distributor of Aqua Dots — a toy recalled after it was learned they turned toxic when wet following the hospitalization of two toddlers — agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle charges the company failed to report a known hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said.
About a dozen children are believed to have been sickened by Aqua Dots.
“To have a toxic chemical on a toy that sends children into comas is one of the most serious violations I have seen as Chairman of the CPSC,” Inez Tenenbaum, the CPSC’s chairman said in a statement sent to TheConsumerChronicle.com. “Aqua Dots should have never reached the hands of children and CPSC is holding Spin Master accountable today for the serious injuries that children suffered.”
Companies are obligated under federal law to immediately report to the CPSC any product that poses a significant risk of injury or death. The agency’s staff accused Spin Master of importing and selling a toy officials knew was made with toxic chemicals.
“If companies play by the rules, report to CPSC on time, and keep dangerous chemicals and metals out of children’s products, then we can work together to keep children safe,” Tenenbaum said. “But if a company fails to report safety problems to CPSC in a timely manner or uses toxic substances to make their product, then we will hold that company accountable.”
The CPSC described Aqua Dots as “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.”
Federal investigators said the company knew children and pets got sick after ingesting the toys, but didn’t alert authorities. The chemical used to make the toys was banned under federal regulations, the CPSC said.
In November 2007, the CPSC said it received two reports of children who had ingested the product, got sick and fell into comas. After that the company and CPSC announced the recall of about 4.2 million units of Aqua Dots.
In agreeing to the settlement, the company denied any wrongdoing.