The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just announced that a number of retailers have recalled Buckyballs and Buckycubes high-powered magnet sets because they contain defects in the design, warnings, and instructions. This presents a significant risk of injury and death to children and teenagers.
Buckyballs and Buckycubes, imported by Maxfield & Oberton LLC, of New York, New York, are comprised of many small, high-powered magnets. Different sets have different quantities of magnets that come in an array of colors; individual magnets are about 5 millimeters in diameter. Individual Buckyball magnets are spherical, while individual Buckycube magnets are cube-shaped.
According to the CPSC, Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, Brookstone, Hallmark, Marbles the Brain Store, and ThinkGeek have agreed to participate in the recall action because Maxfield & Oberton has refused to recall Buckyballs and Buckycubes.
Some three million Buckyballs and Buckycubes sets have been sold in retail stores in the United States and online since 2010 and retail for between $5 and $100. The toys are typically sold in sets of 100 or more, and are composed of a rare-earth mineral known as neodymium; neodymium magnets are at least 15 times more powerful than regular magnets. The desktop toy is designed to be molded into various shapes and s meant for adult use; however, they present serious dangers to children who play with them and teens who use them to imitate tongue, lip, or cheek piercings as they can be accidentally swallowed or inhaled, said ABC/Yahoo News.
When more than one neodymium magnet is ingested, they attract to one another within the digestive tract. When swallowed, these magnets can link together inside the intestines and can clamp onto bodily tissue causing intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis, and death; internal damage can pose serious lifelong health effects.
The CPSC advises consumers to take the high-powered Buckyball and Buckycube sets and any related, individual magnets away from children and teenagers and to contact the seller of those products for further instructions:
- Barnes & Noble: Toll-free at 1.855.592.2993 or online at www.barnesandnoble.com (click on “Product Recalls”)
- Bed Bath & Beyond: Toll-free at 1.800.462.3966 or online at www.bedbathandbeyond.com (select “Safety and Recalls” under “Customer Service” and click on “Recall Information”)
- Brookstone: Toll-free at 1.866.576.7337 or online at www.brookstone.com (click on “Recall Information” under “Shop Brookstone)
- Participating Hallmark retailers: Toll-free at 1.800.425.5627 or online at http://www.hallmark.com/recall-product/
- Marbles the Brain Store: Toll-free at 1.877.527.2460 or online at www.marblesthebrainstore.com
- ThinkGeek: Toll-free at 1.888.433.5788 or online at www.thinkgeek.com/buckyballs/index.shtml
CPSC staff filed a rare administrative complaint against Maxfield & Oberton Holdings LLC in July 2012 when talks with the company and its representatives failed to result in a voluntary recall plan that CPSC staff considered to be adequate to address the significant hazard posed by Buckyballs and Buckycubes. The CPSC has filed only four administrative complaints in the past 11 years. This complaint followed receipt of 54 reports of children and teens ingesting this product; 53 of required medical intervention.
We previously wrote that following mounting complaints associated with the dangerous toys, Maxfield & Oberton Holdings, LLC, was being liquidated, has ceased to exist under Delaware law, and has dissolved.
The Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) previously pointed out that there were some 1,700 emergency room (ER) visits related to swallowing the magnetic toys between 2009 and 2011. Most ER visits involved children four-11 years of age. A study by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, revealed that over 200 cases of magnet-ingestion were reported in the prior year, alone. Some 80 percent, between 2008 and 2012, required endoscopy or surgery; some patients required sections of their bowels to be removed. And, last summer, Health Canada issued a warning regarding the danger associated with high-powered magnet toys, calling them “a recognized health hazard to children of all ages” that should be kept away from children.