Chinese toy harming Vietnamese students emits CO2: police

By Do Truong, Thanh Nien News

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A police officer in Dak Nong Province examines an exploding Chinese toy that sent 39 students to hospital in January. PHOTO BY PHAN BA

Police tests found that an exploding Chinese toy has injured dozens of schoolchildren due to the presence of the food additive sodium bicarbonate and citric acid.
A statement issued by the Binh Duong Province police said the crime lab at the Ministry of Public Security has concluded that the toy is dangerous.
The toy (essentially a bag of pink liquid and a bag of a white powder stuck between two cardboard smiley faces) exploded at a school in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong in January and emitted a gas that caused 39 students to be hospitalized.
Police have identified the powder as sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3 and the pink liquid the weak organic citric acid (C6H8O7).
The students developed itchy rashes all over their bodies and experienced difficulty breathing. Some were put on respirators and fed intravenously.
Vendors in Ho Chi Minh City, who bought the toys from dubious suppliers, said the “bomb toys” or “stink bombs” emits a tiny explosion when squeezed. 
Its label is all in Chinese.
When the acid bag busts, the liquid interacts with the sodium compound and produce an amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that causes the main bag to burst.
Vietnamese authorities early this year ordered a recall of two Chinese toys -- a plastic ball covered in dots and fruit-head dolls -- after tests found they contained excessive amounts of phthalates, a plasticizer compound that is prohibited in western countries since it can cause cancer and deformities in unborn babies and infertility in men.
Earlier this year they imposed similar bans on two other Chinese toys -- a ride-on reindeer banned in Singapore and a battery-operated car.

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