Bindeez and factual reporting…

Most people would have heard about the toy beads called Bindeez made by Moose which have been placed on hold pending an investigation into a suspected poisoning. I was lucky to here about this soon after the story broke when searching Google for Bindeez and GHB yeilded only 7 hits. 24 hours later and the count is 6,000 and rising fast.

Why this is interesting is that Google hit 7 was a blog posting in the US of A, the author had picked up the story from ABC and transcribed it from Australian into YankSpeak. In doing so I noticed that the actual facts as reported, which was that a compound in the beads changed into GHB after ingestion, had morphed into the beads actually contained GHB. I was curious to see how this story would develop with regard to the facts as the level of science literacy is pretty low on the web and professional journalists aren’t much better. And sure enough, by today most of the stories being pushed around are that the beads contain the drug GHB.

With a bit more flicking through Google I found Stilgherrian’s blog and the link back to SBS with a more in depth article explaining what has apparently happened. This took me all of 5 minutes and only using Google, why can’t others be similiarly inclined to find out some facts? Hey morons in the media, it’s not that hard!

Quoting from SBS we Have:

“Sydney-based poisons specialist Dr Naren Gunja said the list of Bindeez’s ingredients supplied by the manufacturer said it should contain the non-toxic chemical known as 1,5-pentanediol.

“What we’ve found in the beads from testing done … by our hospital scientists is that it contains 1,4-butanediol,” Dr Gunja said, adding that this chemical was metabolised by the body into GHB.”

Here’s something interesting, check out the structure for 1,5-pentanediol as compared to 1,4-butanediol.

1-5 Pentanediol1,4-butanediol

Same end units but one extra carbon on the backbone, simple sort of mistake, what harm could it do? 😉

Perhaps someone who wasn’t well educated in science thought it wouldn’t matter, looking at the pretty picture it looks the same???


One Comment on “Bindeez and factual reporting…”

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