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Magnicube Magnet Balls, Cubes maker plans to ignore CPSC order

Dec 20, 2012

Federal consumer safety regulators have ordered another maker of desktop novelties that contain large amounts of small but high-powered magnets to stop selling their products and offer consumers a refund.

According to a statement from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the agency has filed an "administrative complaint" against Star Networks USA LLC. This complaint - passed by a 2-1 vote - seeks to have Star Networks cease marketing of its  Star Networks Magnicube Magnet Balls and Magnet Cubes. These products feature between 125 to 1,027 high-powered rare earth magnets, according to the agency, and pose the same injury risks other similar products do.

The complaint against Star Networks demands the company stop selling these magnet toys and admit to the public that they are dangerous and pose serious injury risks, especially to small children. The complaint also seeks for the company to offer refunds to consumers who purchased either the Star Networks Magnicube Magnet Balls and Magnet Cubes.

The agency believes as many as 22,000 of these objects have been sold to date. In June, Star Networks voluntarily agreed to stop selling these magnet "toys" as requested by the agency. CPSC urged Star Networks and other manufacturers of other rare earth magnet toys to voluntarily stop marketing them on the basis that it believed they pose serious injury risks to younger children.

The agency has received dozens of reports in which a product like Star Networks Magnicube Magnet Balls or Magnet Cubes was the cause of serious injuries and the need for immediate medical attention. Mostly it is small children who are prone to swallowing these small magnets if they happen to break free of their forms. Some older children often like to use these magnets to emulate wearing a tongue ring. If these magnets were accidentally ingested while that's happening, serious complications are likely to result. If just two magnets are swallowed, they can fuse together, possibly on either side of a vital organ that can lead to serious bleeding, perforation, and the need for emergency surgery to remove them.

Star Networks plans to fight the administrative complaint against it and refuses to comply with the agency's order. The company joins other top manufacturers of these and similar products in refusing to comply with this order, Zen Magnets and Maxfield & Oberton, makers of the popular Buckyballs toys.

At least 11 companies have been identified by the CPSC and manufacturers of these devices. The magnets for them are imported from China. Makers of the devices say they properly warn the public that they're intended primarily for people over the age of 14 and to the dangers posed by swallowing these small magnets or even putting them near a person's mouth.

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