In the latest move in its ongoing mandate to safeguard consumers from dangerous toys, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently issued notice of six retailers who have recalled high-powered magnets sold under the names BuckyBall and BuckyCube.
The recall is a voluntary action taken by retailers like Barnes and Noble, Bed, Bath and Beyond and other stores because of the refusal of the toy importer, Maxfield and Oberton, to recall the dangerous toys.
Originally marketed as an executive toy, BuckyBalls are not the ferrite magnets you grew up with. Neodymium or rare earth magnets are substantially more powerful than those found on refrigerator magnets and other toys.
Although now a toy for adult use only, rare-earth magnetic toy sets have been marketed for years and remain in households with children and teens despite warnings and recalls. Because of the size of the magnets, they are easily ingested by children. When more than one is swallowed, the magnets can connect across body tissue, causing intestinal damage, cutting off blood supply and potentially leading to gangrene and death.
For teens, the magnets have been swallowed or ingested when inadvertently used as jewelry to emulate a piercing. Surgery is usually required when the magnets are swallowed, sometimes causing complications and scarring.
In 2012, the CPSC initiated a rule-making process to consider the safety-risk of the magnets and initiated administrative and legal proceedings against importers and manufacturers of the toys. In December of last year Maxfield and Oberton ceased to sell the high-powered magnets.
Unless warned, it is sometimes hard to know when a product is dangerous. If injured by a toy or other consumer product, seek an experienced products liability lawyer.