The Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) has asked New York-based distributors Maxfield and Oberton to cease sales of their magnetic desk toys following complaints of serious injuries to children.
Buckyballs are powerful magnets in the shape of a ball that are often used in combination to form different designs. Approximately 2 million Buckyballs sets have been sold in the United States. Unfortunately, there are over two dozen reports of children ingesting the magnetic toys; if a child swallows more than one magnet, or a magnet and another metal object, the two pieces can attract to one another, thus causing a larger foreign body. The more that is ingested, the more the issue is potentially compounded. These objects within a child’s stomach or intestinal tract can cause perforations and blockages which may require emergency surgery(ies).
According to zaptoit, a Portland, Oregon toddler swallowed 37 of the magnets then started experiencing stomach pains. Before doctors were able to remove the Buckyballs, the magnets had torn holes in the 3-year-old’s intestine and stomach.
Maxfield and Oberton have taken a surprisingly unsympathetic approach. In a statement titled “Thank you for trying to drive a $50 million New York-based consumer product company out of business”, the companies maintained that they “are not sure why the CPSC wants to ban magnets . . . . We have been working with the agency for two years on outreach and education and to make sure the labels are correct so we were surprised by this.”
The CPSC confirms that such measures have been taken in good faith. However, an agency spokesman confirmed that the agency “felt the time had come when [it] needed to take a stronger position in order to protect the safety of children. We don’t want any more children rushed into emergency surgery.”
Photo Credit: King 5