Buckyball Magnets Banned

UPDATE: The initial info I got clearly stated that this kind of magnet was being generally banned, but Nanodots, a brand name, and possibly some other brands are not being banned. “Buckyball” is the brand being banned. I wonder, can a company call themselves “buckyball” and trademark that name?

Original story:

I actually suggested this as a holiday gift NOT FOR KIDS a while back, so I want to tell you the latest news.

Neodymium magnets are ver powerful magnets that use the rare earth neodynium element. They are very powerful. The toys consist of little round balls that stick to each other with quite a bit of force and they are fun to play with.

The problem is that kids swallow them. Then, the magnets line up in the digestive intestines and stick parts of the intestines together forming a block, or perforating the intestines. As an added note, they also resemble the little silver balls you use to decorate cakes and cupcakes (a questionable practice as those candies are very hard; I don’t recommend using them!). The retailers of these magnets seem to have provided all sorts of warnings but people tend to either ignore the warnings or forget about them, or the magnets may be left around unattended long before a young child is on the scene, then they get discovered.

For these reasons, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has ordered a stop to their sales.

Interestingly, the main company that imports these has taken a very politicized stance, stating that they “…. will vigorously fight this action taken by President Obama’s handpicked agency.”

As the owner of some nanomagnets of this type, with a toddler in the house, and a Democrat who supports our President, I find that obnoxious. I wonder if members of the Tea Party have stocked up on these dangerous little curios?

The name of that company is Maxfield and Oberton. On their web site they say:

You might have heard there’s a problem with our products…
THIS IS NOT TRUE.
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. Let us know how you feel about this: Comment on Facebook; send a tweet; tell your friends; complain loudly; or just buy a set to stick it to the CPSC. Read more here.

Well, I suppose they could always switch to making Jarts!

Personally, I think it is paternalistic to ban them. But, I support the ban. Paternalism has its safe; the protection of children from unwary parents and corporate greed. Unfortunately.

Comments

  1. #1 Daniel J. Andrews
    July 26, 2012

    Saw them on sale at the Vancouver airport two days ago. Should I buy them now before they’re banned? Meh…they’re fun for all of 10 minutes but after that….

    Not sure what I think of the ban though. Are the numbers worse than what we have for dangers of plastic bags, small items in models, game pieces and other things that cause problems and haven’t been banned? I think as long as they’re consistent in what they’re banning, or show they’re much more problematic…..hmm….still debating the issue with myself so I’ll STFU for now. Mind you, because of they way they unnecessarily politicized it, I’m having a more gut-leaning reaction to banning (and not buying anything from them at all).

    Re: silver candies on cakes. Ban those. No question. Who thought those were a good idea? Under-employed dentists? :)

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    July 26, 2012

    I’m not sure what the numbers are on the injuries. The whole process is an interesting one, from a regulatory point of view. The CPSC hardly ever bans anything at this level (with as “stop sale” order), though. This is not their first action regarding these magnets; despite what the company claims, there have been labeling problems in the past. From the CPSC: “Since 2009, CPSC staff has learned of more than two dozen ingestion incidents, with at least one dozen involving Buckyballs. Surgery was required in many of incidents. The Commission staff alleges in its complaint that it has concluded that despite the attempts to warn purchasers, warnings and education are ineffective and cannot prevent injuries and incidents with these rare earth magnets.

    CPSC has received reports of toddlers finding loose magnets left within reach and placing them in their mouths. It can be extremely difficult for a parent to tell if any of the tiny magnets are missing from a set. In some of the reported incidents, toddlers have accessed loose magnets left on a refrigerator and other parts of the home.

    Use of the product by tweens and teenagers to mimic piercings of the tongue, lip or cheek has resulted in incidents where the product is unintentionally inhaled and swallowed. These ingestion incidents occur when children receive it as a gift or gain access to the product in their homes or from friends.”

  3. #3 Amoeba
    July 27, 2012

    Mmmm. Ingested magnets versus projectile weapons.

    I wonder how many people die from unattended & loaded firearms left around the home.

    Methinks the priorities are likely confused.

  4. #4 Mellissa
    August 3, 2012
  5. #5 Greg Laden
    August 3, 2012

    Mellissa, you are right. The original information I got told me that the CPSC is banning all magnets of this type, but Nanodots is not being told to not sell. It is only Buckyballs that has the stop-sell order because the company was apparently not complying.

  6. #6 Ben Goodchild
    canada
    May 31, 2013

    I don’t really agree with this ban at all. Just because, (and I have seen the numbers) about 300 kids have been injured in the past ten years by these magnets DOES NOT institute a ban. I don’t think they should ban product that have ANY kind of possible injury, it would be like banning house cleaners because ‘children may drink them’ and they are dangerous. ITS DUMB!

  7. #7 aslkfjlaksflkasd
    July 11, 2014

    1. You are a liberal moron.
    2. When you have a kid, you have AT LEAST SEVERAL MONTHS TO LOOK AROUND YOUR RATHOLE OF A HOUSE YOU LIVE IN TO FIND ANY POTENTIAL HAZARDS TO YOUR OFFSPRING.
    3. Natural Selection. That is all.

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    July 12, 2014

    Thank you, Home Row. Nice to have the Libertarian view in this!

Current ye@r *