CPSC stops sale of Buckyballs magnetic desk toys

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Consumers Union commends CPSC action to stop sale of Buckyballs magnetic desk toys

WASHINGTON – Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, today praised the legal action taken by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to stop the sale of Buckyballs magnetic desk toys.
Consumers Union also commended retailers that have decided to stop selling Buckyballs, Buckycubes, and similar stress-relief magnetic desk toys because of the risks posed to children who swallow one or more of the tiny magnets. The American Academy of Pediatrics noted that a single product can contain 100 or more such magnets, making it difficult for parents to recognize when one is missing.
“The CPSC is doing the right thing to help keep children safe,” said Ellen Bloom, Director of Federal Policy for Consumers Union. “These types of toys are marketed to adults, but children have easy access to them, and they can be seriously hurt. We’ve seen too many cases where children swallow these tiny magnets, and they wind up having major surgeries and suffering long, drawn-out injuries. We agree with the pediatricians who say we need to do everything we can to keep these harmful magnetic products away from our children.”
Consumer Reports has a new story and video about the safety concerns surrounding magnetic toys posted here at ConsumerReports.org.
The CPSC filed an administrative complaint against Maxfield & Oberton, the manufacturer of Buckyballs products, on July 25. In a press statement about the lawsuit, the CPSC said that Buckyballs and Buckycubes “contain a defect in the design, packaging, warnings, and instructions, which pose a substantial risk of injury to the public.”
The CPSC said it has learned of more than two dozen cases of children who ingested the tiny magnets in Buckyballs and similar products, with at least 12 of the cases involving Buckyballs. The agency said surgery was required in many of incidents, and it has concluded that, despite attempts to warn purchasers, warnings and education are ineffective, and cannot prevent injuries and incidents with these rare earth magnets.
The CPSC cited reports of toddlers finding loose magnets and placing them in their mouths. Teens and tweens have swallowed them when using them to pretend to have lip or nose piercings, the agency said.

Consumers Union is the public policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports. Consumers Union works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.
Media contact: David Butler, and Kara Kelber 202-462-6262