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Feds Ban 'Buckyballs' Magnets 820

Posted by Soulskill
from the natural-selection-defeated-once-again dept.
SicariusMan writes "Looks like warnings and other precautions were not enough to save Buckyballs Magnets. According to this report, the Consumer Product Safety Commission is concerned about the increase in children swallowing the rare earth magnets, and has issued its first stop-sale order in 11 years. Amazon and others have already agreed to stop selling the toys. 'Although the commission issued a safety alert in November, it has received more than a dozen reports since then of children ingesting the magnets, with many requiring surgery, it said. More than 2 million Buckyballs and at least 200,000 Buckycubes, a similar cube-shaped magnet, have been sold in the United States.'"
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Feds Ban 'Buckyballs' Magnets

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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:05PM (#40770123)

    How about a ban on stupid trailer-park dumbass kids who ruin it for the rest of us?

  • Nice things (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bananaquackmoo (1204116) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:11PM (#40770205)
    You see? This is why we can't have nice things, Barry!
  • by Brandano (1192819) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:12PM (#40770231)

    Something that can be dangerous when grossly misused can be outright banned.

    Unless it's a weapon

  • How many... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:13PM (#40770237)

    The article states that dozens of children have swallowed the magnets and 12 required surgery. There are over 60M children age 14 and younger in the US. Isn't this a bit of an over-reaction? I'm curious as to how many children have had problems after swalling coins and other items that people may have on their desk (ie paper clips, thumb tacks, etc.)?

    Seems the shootings in Colorado hurt a lot more people, but for some reason, they haven't banned the sale of bullets.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:14PM (#40770263)

    It's not a problem if 1 gets swallowed.

    It's a problem when 2 or more get swallowed within a short time period, and then the person who swallowed them dies.

    We don't sell cribs or strollers that collapse on infants. We don't sell poisoned dog food. We don't sell toys marketed to children that can easily kill them.

    It's just a toy, and it really isn't worth kids dying over it. You can still buy strong rare earth magnets if you want, just not in one children-marketed form.

  • by macraig (621737) <mark.a.craig@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:17PM (#40770297)

    I modded you flamebait, but decided I'd rather tell you to your face that this comment is every bit as ignorant and prejudiced as any I've heard uttered by the so-called trailer trash I've encountered. I don't know if this really reflects your beliefs or you're just trying to be controversial, but at face value that's stereotypical trailer-trash talk.

  • Re:How many... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sebastopol (189276) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:19PM (#40770335) Homepage

    "Seems the shootings in Colorado hurt a lot more people, but for some reason, they haven't banned the sale of bullets."

    The makers of BuckyBalls don't have the billions of $$$ of NRA lobbying PAC behind them, otherwise you never would have even heard of the 12 kids requiring surgery...

  • by f3rret (1776822) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:21PM (#40770363)

    Uranium [amazon.com] and bleach [amazon.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:25PM (#40770415)

    It's not a problem if 1 gets swallowed.

    It's a problem when 2 or more get swallowed within a short time period, and then the person who swallowed them dies.

    We don't sell cribs or strollers that collapse on infants. We don't sell poisoned dog food. We don't sell toys marketed to children that can easily kill them.

    It's just a toy, and it really isn't worth kids dying over it. You can still buy strong rare earth magnets if you want, just not in one children-marketed form.

    So 12 kids died for being dumb, and there are 2 million sets out there in the wild. I'd bet more kids get hurt from knives, percentagewise, and other things adults buy than ever did from toy not-really-a-toy magnets.

    This is basically just a shake down. Someone forgot to pay the right people.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:28PM (#40770475) Journal

    Fucking crazy. Some schizophrenic lunatic can buy thousands of rounds of ammunition of the Internet, but God forbid anyone should buy a Buckyball magnet.

  • How about a ban on stupid trailer-park dumbass kids who ruin it for the rest of us?

    Why is this insightful? It's not the kids, or even their parents that are banning this stuff. They're a vocal minority. It's a government that wants to nanny us 24 hours a day banning things like this. "For the children" is just another variant of "the public good". Various levels of government want to regulate... or outright ban... everything from the size of your soda to the ingredients in your food.

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:41PM (#40770651)

    We don't sell cribs or strollers that collapse on infants.

    That's simply a bad product. I'm sure you could sue the company for that. These work as intended, however.

    We don't sell poisoned dog food.

    That would be intentionally harming them. Not a fitting analogy.

    We don't sell toys marketed to children that can easily kill them.

    I think we should be able to if they're just imbeciles and their parents don't pay attention.

    It's just a toy, and it really isn't worth kids dying over it.

    If it means banning it, it is. Just because you don't find it useful doesn't mean everyone else feels the same way. I believe "for the children" is a terrible excuse whether or not children really are in danger.

  • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:46PM (#40770709)

    It's a shame this post was modded down. I'd personally prefer to reward dudes with mod-points who decide against using them just to say "I disagree".

  • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MacGyver2210 (1053110) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:48PM (#40770739)

    So basically, because 12 kids were too fucking stupid not to ingest small pieces of metal, or their parents were too fucking dumb to supervise them around these things, nobody can have them, anywhere, at any age?

    Land of the free, my ass. Fuck this country. Ten times over.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:49PM (#40770751) Homepage Journal

    How about a ban on stupid trailer-park dumbass kids who ruin it for the rest of us?

    I found a load of these on the ground in a park. Never mind how they got there, how do you expect children to read the warning which isn't present with these things? Also, you, I and likely everyone else on /. put stuff in our mouths in a time when we were so young we don't remember what these things were (but our mothers tell us, usually at the most inopportune times) These things, for the amusement value vs. the hazard value are understandable. See some of the x-rays where a couple of these things pinch and then pass through stomach and intestine walls. I've ever received some darn painful pinches from them while idly playing with them.

    I hate to see it happen, but these really are a danger to children.

  • by AK Marc (707885) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:52PM (#40770791)

    It's not the kids, or even their parents that are banning this stuff.

    It's the parents who killed their kids who are looking to blame others that are calling for the ban. The government didn't call for the ban. There wasn't an independent investigation that found them unsafe. It was parents begging the government to ban them that got them looked at. And the democratic government looked at the wishes of the citezens and responded.

    The issue is either that democracy is bad, or the parents are to blame.

  • The kids aren't dumb asses. Kids are kids. Young kids put things in their mouth, it's human nature. Dumb ass parents, and dumb ass owns of these magnets are why it happens.

  • by v1 (525388) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:55PM (#40770819) Homepage Journal

    I found a load of these on the ground in a park. Never mind how they got there, how do you expect children to read the warning which isn't present with these things?

    Never mind that nail, rock, and used condom over there on the ground. What if someone's kid picks that up and tries to swallow it? Lets ban all that stuff!

    No. How about you teach your kid common sense and save the entire world the trouble of looking after them for you? I'm not going to run around the world slapping warning labels on stuff for your kid that may not even be old enough to read yet.

    "Don't childproof the world - worldproof the child."

  • yeah, fuck thinkgeek responding to a government stop sell. WTF are they supposed to do? You wan't to be pissed at someone? be pissed at the people who brought this concern to the government. Take that anger and get other poeple together to tell the government you don't want them banned. Oh, you won't do that because it takes work, and it's hard..and besides you have all those new steam games to play.

  • by cheekyjohnson (1873388) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:09PM (#40770977)

    And the democratic government looked at the wishes of the citezens and responded.

    The wishes of how many citizens, exactly?

    I wish they'd do the same thing with the TSA and just get rid of it. If it was anything like this, a vocal minority could get rid of it.

  • by ATMAvatar (648864) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:12PM (#40771001) Journal

    Responsibility begins before purchase.

    If the child is old enough and responsible enough to save up money and pay for their own toys, he/she is not within the group of children likely to die by these magnets. In any other case, the parents (or some other presumably responsible adult) are purchasing the magnets.

  • by nbauman (624611) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:19PM (#40771081) Homepage Journal

    Right, if a 14-year-old isn't responsible enough to keep them out of the hands of his 10-year-old brother, the kid deserves to die.

  • by macraig (621737) <mark.a.craig@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:21PM (#40771095)

    The bigger shame is that the parent comment to mine has been modded +5 Insightful... not even +5 Funny, but Insightful. WTF? What does that tell us about the current average Slashdot moderator mindset? Is it tribalism, crazyjj's buddies all mindlessly modding him up, or is it inbreeding?

  • by Mike Buddha (10734) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:30PM (#40771199)

    It's summertime. The self-centered teens have nothing to do but bitch about how everyone's keeping them down.

  • by pla (258480) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:30PM (#40771215) Journal
    The kids aren't dumb asses. Kids are kids. Young kids put things in their mouth, it's human nature. Dumb ass parents, and dumb ass owns of these magnets are why it happens.

    So if parents ignore age rating on a goddamned dildo, can we sue the manufacturer for child sexual abuse?

    At some point, it comes down to "don't be an idiot". If you buy your kids a gun and they blow their heads off - don't blame Remington, try a frickin' mirror.
  • Re:Seriously (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lehk228 (705449) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:33PM (#40771241) Journal
    it's not that they don't come out that makes them dangerous, when they pinch they kill and destroy intestinal tissue, allowing gut/fecal bacteria into the blood
  • The problem is that, if you have 2 of them, they don't pass through the intestine like the other stuff kids swallow.

    So, I, an adult without any children and none planned, am not allowed to own them for this?

    That makes sense...

    How many children die from accidental gunshots in households where parents are too stupid to secure their weapons, but I can buy guns at the local Walmart? Oh, can't ban those... Shucks.

    This is a stupid ban, no matter HOW nasty they are inside children. I feel bad for the kids, really, but there is no need to punish everyone else for it.

    I can see Zucker being cross-examined: "You did know that several children had died from swallowing these buckeyballs, didn't you?"

    So people would have the same reaction to any firearm manufacture right? I can picture P. James Debney (CEO of Smith and Wesson) in court "You did know several children have been accidentally shot, didn't you?".

    My house has around 1000 things that are very dangerous to children (cleaners, knives, airsoft weapons, small parts and screws, cactuses, poisonous plants, solvents, magnets!, outlets, glass objects, plastic bags, gasoline, cigarettes, booze, lighters, other flammable liquids, R rated movies, metal music, a chainsaw, three or four machetes, a weed wacker, atheist propaganda, a Koran, the Communist Manifesto, and the complete works of Socrates/Plato), should I be expecting the police to swing by and arrest me for being "dangerous" soon?

    EVERYTHING IS DANGEROUS. Ban it all.

  • by dgatwood (11270) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:39PM (#40771303) Journal

    I couldn't disagree more. Buckyballs are not toys for kids. They're toys intended for adults, marketed for adults. Arguing that they should be banned because kids play with them and get hurt is just as nonsensical as arguing that the Ferrari should be banned because parents can give their five-year-olds the car keys and those kids can drive the car off a cliff. There is zero difference. Both are toys designed for adults, and clearly labeled as such.

    These products already have prominent warning labels on their packages saying that these are dangerous when swallowed, and that they are not intended for children under 13 years of age. Most kids stop swallowing random objects by about age three, so that's a solid ten year safety margin. To the extent that some of them might have been sold prior to when that warning label was added, they should be held liable for any injuries resulting from those early sales. However, it is not the CPSC's responsibility to protect parents who are so clueless that they buy a product that is clearly marked for ages 13+ and give it to a two-year-old. The only way to achieve such a standard would be to ban all toys designed for children over three years of age. No sane person would say that this is a good idea.

    As for younger kids getting their hands on them accidentally, it is the parents' responsibility to watch their kids, and to ensure that anything potentially dangerous is kept out of reach. You don't see people trying to ban household cleansers because kids can be killed by drinking them. You don't see people trying to ban all medications because kids can climb into the medicine cabinet and OD. And yet all of these are things that children of the very same age do. There really is absolutely no difference here. The products are properly labeled, so to the extent that there is a problem, in much the same way as we have poison control ads, the right solution is public service announcements to educate the public about the risks of kids swallowing magnets, not a ban on the products.

    Oh, and more importantly, educate doctors, nurses, and poison control centers so that when you ask them if you should worry after a kid swallows one of these things, they immediately tell you to go count them and make damn sure the kid swallowed only one.

    People trying to get products banned because of egregious misuse and abuse are what drives us rapidly towards being a nanny state in which anything interesting, useful, or fun is outlawed to protect us from our own stupidity. That isn't a world I want to live in.

  • by Gaerek (1088311) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:41PM (#40771325)

    Last I checked, the 2nd amendment doesn't say:

    "...and the right of the people to keep and play with Buckyballs shall not be infringed."

    Banning the sales of ammo would be unconstitutional, regardless of any statistic. Banning of Buckballs (not that I agree) would be within the dubiously used "Commerce Clause"

  • by Gaerek (1088311) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:46PM (#40771363)
    I agree, this isn't a case of "It's a dangerous product!" It's a case of parents who don't read warnings and let their kids have access to something that clearly isn't safe for them. According to a quick Google search in 2002, over 1 million children were hospitalized due to accidental poisoning, and in 2001, 96 were killed as a result. Following the lead of the Buckyball ban, let's ban all substances that can poison a child! http://www.preventinjury.org/PDFs/POISONING.pdf [preventinjury.org]
  • by similar_name (1164087) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:04PM (#40771525)
    You have to marvel at a society that can recognize the rights and responsibilities involved with gun ownership but bans the sale of a toy. Sort of like you can die for your country or be in a gang bang on camera at 18 but you can't have a beer.
  • by camperdave (969942) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:38PM (#40771773) Journal

    If the child is old enough and responsible enough to save up money and pay for their own toys, he/she is not within the group of children likely to die by these magnets.

    That doesn't mean that the child doesn't have a sibling that might swallow them.

  • by milkmage (795746) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:40PM (#40771791)

    "So people would have the same reaction to any firearm manufacture right?" ..well, check this shit out.
    cop allowed to sue Glock.
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Judge-allows-paralyzed-dad-to-sue-Glock-3732408.php [sfgate.com] ...by a Los Angeles policeman who was paralyzed from the waist down when his 3-year-old son shot him with his service pistol. ....Enrique Chavez claimed in his lawsuit that the Glock 21 lacked adequate safeguards against an accidental discharge because it had a light trigger pull and did not have a grip safety
    ok - this is true. Glocks do not have a traditional safety that needs to be released before the trigger moves.
    and put his son, Collin, in the back seat of his pickup truck to drop the boy off at his grandfather's house...
    sounds tragic, right? wait -
    Chavez had removed the child's car seat from the truck and had forgotten that he had left his Glock, which he always kept loaded, beneath the front seat, the court said. ...now Glock has to defend themselves against this moron.

    go back to the beginning.. "son shot him with his service pistol."

    SERVICE PISTOL. there's a reason LAPD picked Glock as their standard issue.. it's BECAUSE of the lack of traditional safeties and the light trigger pull.

    he should sue LAPD for trusting him to carry a gun.

  • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @09:05PM (#40771919) Homepage

    Man you guys banned kinder toy eggs aka kinder surprise [wikipedia.org]. ... And people smuggle them in from Canada, so....I guess you shouldn't have to wait too long.

  • by hexagonc (1986422) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @09:19PM (#40772023)
    They're actually perfectly fine and perfectly safe for 99.99999% of kids 8 years old and up because most kids are not so stupid as to swallow small metal balls. These things are expensive; why would you do anything to deliberately lose them? When I was 8 years old, it would never even occur to me to swallow these magnets. It would be as self-defeating as swallowing my own LEGO pieces.
  • by Roger W Moore (538166) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @09:32PM (#40772125) Journal

    Even if you swallow some balls, but not at once, you will need to go to the surgery.

    Correct - you will need surgery but nobody has yet died. However if you look at the stats for accidental poisonings in the US [cdc.gov] you will see that there are 41,592 deaths every year. 91% of these are due to drugs which leaves 3,473 deaths every year due to non-drug related poisonings. It is not clear how many of these are due to kids swallowing household chemicals but you have to wonder why there is any need to ban something over 12 surgeries and zero deaths given the number of actual deaths from swallowing things.

  • by Dahamma (304068) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @09:44PM (#40772219)

    So the 180 kids who were killed by someone misusing their parent's gun was due to drugs and the gun was illegally obtained? I'm sure you have a citation for that...

    The point was that's 180 more kids than have actually died eating these magnets, so why in hell is one protected and not the other?

    And if you sort the table in the article you mentioned by the key statistic, "homicide by firearm rate per 100,000 population", the US is #1 of all Western, non-3rd world countries. Comparing against a country with a civil war, roving bands of pirates, or where the government is the one doing the shooting is kind of pointless.

    But anyway, automatic weapons were successfully banned in the US with no Constitutional override. Why not ban semi-automatic weapons as well? The founding fathers had to load their metal balls one at a time, which did a pretty good job of preventing mass murders and random crime-related homicides (you miss, and you lose).

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @09:49PM (#40772267)

    Uh huh. So tell us how the ball shattered.

  • by lister king of smeg (2481612) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @11:41PM (#40772991)

    i had toys with small pieces when my younger sister was at the stage where everything went in her mouth and i was told not to let her near them. i was also given a piece of plywood to put across the entrance to my door so she couldn't get to them when i was using them. i was also banned from using them in the same room as her without parental supervision. never had a problem. i don't see why there is issue here just keep out of reach of small children and dumb-ass's

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:14AM (#40773165) Journal

    And I want to own Buckyball magnets. It's my choice, not the government's. Seems like a tyranny to me. You're the gun owner, get out there and water the tree of Liberty with a little blood.

  • by davester666 (731373) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @02:01AM (#40773745) Journal

    WTF? MRI? Why waste it's time [which is pretty expensive] on this? Just build a nice big iron-core coil magnet and hook it up to a power support. Maybe paint it with some coating to make it easier to wash off the blood and you are set.

  • 2 years old (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @02:31AM (#40773871) Journal

    This kid was 4

    You argument?

    And if something is sold in a store, it makes it difficult not to have it in the house? Because the store owner forces you to buy it? Because you are incapable of thinking "mmm this toy clearly has a warning on it to keep it away from all kids, so lets not buy it for my kids".

    Didn't you child proof the house when you got a kid? Use those childproof plastic stickers on all your outlets? Lock the cabinet with chemicals? Keep power tools out of reach? Close the front door so the kid can't escape? Not boil water without keeping an eye on it?

    Parenting is hard work, don't want to do it, don't get a kid.

  • by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:23AM (#40774093)

    It's a case of parents who don't read warnings and let their kids have access to something that clearly isn't safe for them.

    Parents would probably read warnings if they were only displayed on products that are actually dangerous. In the US, for fear of lawsuits, everything comes with a long list of warnings. It's like the boy who cried wolf: Parents are trained to ignore warnings. (I once bought a toy for my three year old that was labeled "EU: Not suitable for children under 3. US: Not suitable for children under 5.")

  • It's not that simple. I have an 11 year old, 3 year old and 18 month old. The 11 year old is obviously allowed to have such toys. She is required however to make sure they are picked up and stored in her bedroom and has been told that if I find parts laying around that the younger ones could get a hold of I will throw them out without warning or even telling her about it. I have followed through on that many many times.

    However, a few months ago when changing my son's diaper, I found he had swallowed and subsequently passed, a silicon button that was part of my daughter's iPod cover. One of these: http://amzn.com/B0086YLNVW [amzn.com] Apparently one he saw laying around before I did.

    I'm not saying that a ban on this toy is appropriate. I'm certain the packaging is appropriately labeled with age restrictions and warnings. It's just not as simple as "parents who don't read warnings".

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