CPSC Bans Sale of Buckyball Magnets, Citing Child Health Hazard

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a stop-sale order for Buckyballs, a magnetic stress ball toy that is meant for adults but has caused dangerous health problems in children.  The ban is despite efforts by Buckyballs’ efforts to prevent the product from getting into children’s hands; the company’s website still has a statement reading, “A government agency (the Consumer Product Safety Commission) is saying they should be recalled because children occasionally get ahold of them. This is unfair. We market exclusively to adults. We are vigorously defending our right to market these products you love.”

Reuters reports on the CPSC’s decision:

The commission ordered distributor Maxfield and Oberton Holdings of New York to halt sales because injuries to children who had swallowed them had continued to rise, the CPSC said in a complaint.

“Notwithstanding the labeling, warnings and efforts taken by (Maxfield and Oberton), ingestion incidents continued to rise because warnings are ineffective,” the CPSC said. It said the magnets presented a “substantial product hazard.”

Buckyballs are small, powerful round rare earth magnets that are sold as toys and desktop accessories. When children swallow them they can pinch or trap intestines and require surgery to remove, the CPSC said.

Since they went on the market in 2009, numerous incidents involving children have been reported. In January 2011, a 4-year-old boy had his intestine perforated after he swallowed three magnets he thought were chocolate candy, the complaint said.

Although the commission issued a safety alert in November, it has received more than a dozen reports since then of children ingesting the magnets, with many requiring surgery, it said.

Image: Buckyballs, via http://www.ohgizmo.com/

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