Scientists say a chemical coating on the beads, when ingested, metabolizes into the so-called date rape drug gamma hydroxy butyrate. When eaten, the compound - made from common and easily available ingredients - can induce unconsciousness, seizures, drowsiness, coma and death.
The toys were supposed to use 1,5-pentanediol, a nontoxic compound found in glue, but instead contained the harmful 1,4-butanediol, which is widely used in cleaners and plastics. The Food and Drug Administration in 1999 declared the chemical a Class I Health Hazard, meaning it can cause life-threatening harm.
Yes, this has been checked out on Snopes.
Additional note: They're called "Bindeez" in Australia, where they're also very popular. They're distributed in over 40 countries.
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