Sciencemadness Discussion Board

Toys made with GHB...? WTF?

SsgtHAZMAT - 7-11-2007 at 23:33

Toys made with GHB...? WTF?

How is this possible?

Aqua Dots Recalled for Possibly Containing Date Rape Drug,2933,309318,00.html

Ok so I saw this news item and I was wondering how this was even possible. I know there are some prodrug items such as gamma-butyrolactone that will metabolize in to gamma hydroxy butyrate but are they used in paint?

[Edited on 8-11-2007 by SsgtHAZMAT]

Maya - 7-11-2007 at 23:49

Those are just toys, imagine if they started investigating the full spectrum of products made at lackadaisical chinese or other cheap labor mill countries...

Sauron - 7-11-2007 at 23:49

You can't really expect the news media to get this straight can you?

What it said was that something in the plastic, could be metabolized to GHB. Not that the plastic was made out of GHB.

Furthermore it is utter hype to characterize GHB as a "date rape drug" which is a term I regard as feminazi fiction.

After all the most popular "date rape drug" historically is probably Budweiser.

As for the toys, which were made in Australia as I understand it, there's really no way to intelligently comment without knowing the formulation of the polymer.

Lots of things can metabolize to GHB. GHB is simply a precursor to GABA which is a natural component of the human nervous system. A very simple molecule, a gamma amino acid with four carbons in a straight chain. GHB is just the hydroxy form of same.

The stuff used to be sold in health food stores.

The feminazis during the Clinton years got on their high horse about "date rape drugs" and this particular baby was swept away with the bathwater.

Really much ado about nothing.

Maya - 7-11-2007 at 23:58

agreed, many chems can metabolize to ghb , .

I think the point is that the manufacturer should have known his method for making such product and not have used the easiest method for accomplishing this if the metabolic route of the ingredients were known.

Apparently not all factory monkeys are trained pharmacologists,,, who knew???

At least there are no lasting effects from this ingestation.

Sauron - 8-11-2007 at 00:09

If I had to guess I'd guess 1,4-butanediol or maybe gamma-butyrolactone is present somewhere in the formulation. Not the only candidates but the usual suspects and hardly unknown in the plastics industry.

not_important - 8-11-2007 at 03:36

Other sources report that the manufacture substituted the GHB precursor for the approved material. Poly-ols are good suspects, the beads swell a bit and stick to each other when treated with water and a polyol would seem to be a way to keep a coating flexible and ready to allow water to diffuse into it.

Such substitutions are a not uncommon problem with goods manufactured in China, witness the toothpaste and cough syrup incidents in the last year.

Eclectic - 8-11-2007 at 05:10

There is also a lot of work being done on biocompatible and biodegradeable polymers based on glycolic, lactic, and gammahydroxybutyric acid. Completely innocuous. One of the safest solvents and plasticisers that could possibly be used for toys.

OK, according to API a toddler ate "Aqua Dots" that were made with 1,4 butanediol instead of 1,5 pentanediol. The substitution was made probably because of a 1:8 price difference. I'd bet the actual toxicity difference is insignificant, but 1,4 butanediol makes you falling down drunk/asleep and 1,5 pentanediol doesn't.

[Edited on 11-8-2007 by Eclectic]

"Non toxic" seems to be a bit of a stretch for 1,5 pentanediol. The LD50 seems to be >2g/kg or unknown/not available, vs. very well known and studied for 1,4 butanediol, which is a health hazard only because people tend to ingest it to get drunk.

[Edited on 11-8-2007 by Eclectic]

nitroglycol - 8-11-2007 at 18:19

Originally posted by SauronFurthermore it is utter hype to characterize GHB as a "date rape drug" which is a term I regard as feminazi fiction.

It's hugely exaggerated, to be sure, but I don't know that it's complete fiction, nor that feminists in particular are to blame for it. What we have here is your classic mass hysteria, and you can't really single out feminists any more than you can single out anti-drug crusaders or sensationalist media. Probably less, actually; I frequent several political discussion boards that have a number of outspoken feminists as regulars, and I don't recall them discussing date rape drugs much at all.

After all the most popular "date rape drug" historically is probably Budweiser.

Truer words were never spoken...

[Edited on 8/11/2007 by nitroglycol]

Sauron - 8-11-2007 at 18:33

I recall that Hillary and friends took a hand in getting GHB scheduled by DEA.

nitroglycol - 8-11-2007 at 18:51

Oh, I don't doubt that a lot of feminist activist types bought into the mass hysteria at the time, but so did a lot of other people. And there have been a few (very few) cases where GHB seems to have been used in this manner:
In a total of 41 cases, one alleged victim had taken alcohol and illegal drugs, eight had taken alcohol and prescribed drugs and seven had consumed all three.

In all, the study concluded none involved Rohypnol and just two involved another date-rape drug, GHB. Ten were suspected drug-assisted assaults involving other sedatives or drugs.

A more plausible explanation as to why GHB was scheduled is that the anti-drug people were freaked that such an easily made compound could get you high. And with a couple of real cases to point to, they would have found it easy to get others on board- the feminists of course, but also the "tough on crime" crowd and the media that always love a good story. But really, I think these sorts of things are usually more automatic than that. Mass hysteria is a headless leviathan that sweeps up many in its path without any need for central planning. It happened with the witch trials a few centuries back, the various "red scares" of the twentieth century, and it's happening now with Islam. The furor over date rape drugs is just a smaller version of these.

Sauron - 8-11-2007 at 19:40

Well, arguably I'm one of those anti-drug people and I have never understood, nor agreed with the scheduling of GHB and the consequent "drug precursor" status of THF, GBL, and BDO. There are too many real problem drugs to worry about and frittering away energy on phony ones is clearly non-productive.

We had an incident here in Bangkok a couple of years ago.

Some European guy was trying to smuggle GBL to USA in bottles of Thai wine. The GBL was mixed with THF, suggesting he had prepared it from THF and bottled the crude product.

As he did not have the proper Thai FDA seals on the bottles the US Customs rejected the shipment of several cases of these bottles. So they were returned to Thailand, where they sat in a shipping agent's warehouse waiting for the consignor to claim them (and pay the freight.)

A couple of the employees decided to pilfer some of the wine and get drunk. They shared it with a few others. Several dies, the rest were hospitalized. The European was arrested, and the Thai authorities tightened controls on sales of THF and GBL.

As a THF user I am annoyed about this but I do not blame the molecules for the avarice of the smuggler or the stupidity of the thieves. And I really do not see how anyone could choke down enough THF/GBL thinking it was qine. That's hard to imagine. Unless they were drunk already at the time.

Edward Elric - 7-12-2007 at 14:26

So.... they've already begun to attack.... ;)