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Government Toys News

Feds Ban 'Buckyballs' Magnets 820

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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:13PM (#40770243)

    The problem with magnets is they can pinch the intestines between them if you swallow more than one, and that can cause pretty nasty stuff.

  • Re:Seriously (Score:4, Informative)

    by stanlyb ( 1839382 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:14PM (#40770275)
    It is not the balls, nor the kids. Even if you swallow some balls, but not at once, you will need to go to the surgery. The problem as i see it, is stupid grown people buying bucky balls and giving them to their kids, who, SURPRISE, swallow them.
  • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:23PM (#40770383)

    These are neodymium magnets that stick together quite strongly. If two are swallowed they run the risk of coming within close proximity to each other while passing through separate parts of the intestines and clamping them together. Only way to remove them at that point is surgery.

    That's not to say the other things you mentioned don't run a risk of getting stuck, or that these will get stuck. By being rare earth magnets they set themselves up for causing problems in the twisty path of our lower digestive tract.

  • Zen Magnets (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:25PM (#40770429)

    I think the sales of Zen Magnets are about to increase...

    (For those who don't know, Zen Magnets are *exactly* the same thing as buckyballs except for a very slight increase in quality and price. That would also mean they'd be more dangerous due to higher magnetic strength.)

  • Re:Only in America! (Score:3, Informative)

    by JustOK ( 667959 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:28PM (#40770477) Journal

    They're designed to make a profit for the guns/bullets manufacturers.

  • by Anpheus ( 908711 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:30PM (#40770517)

    My understanding is that it is different, the intestine isn't blocked, but actually ruptured because the magnets pull through it.

  • Re:Seriously (Score:5, Informative)

    by bennomatic ( 691188 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:38PM (#40770615) Homepage
    These are small and unusually powerful magnets. Swallow one, and then another a half-hour later (or any time before passing the first), and they will pull together, pinching your internal organs, and they'll never come out without invasive surgery.

    A normal magnet, if swallowed, will just pass. And if it's big enough to have the same pull that these rare earth magnets have, it'll be uncomfortable enough during the swallowing that most kids won't do it twice, so that pinching thing likely won't happen.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:03PM (#40770911) Homepage Journal
    If you're an adult you don't necessarily have to have your fun ruined. Just get your rare off magnets off United Nuclear [] web site. Be sure to go for the ones labelled in red, "EXTREMELY DANGEROUS MAGNET". That's their code for "this is the fun one!" While you're there you can pick up some uranium ore and death ray parts.
  • by Petron ( 1771156 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:06PM (#40770927)

    Buckyballs are *NOT* for kids!

    They are marketed to adults. Designed for adults. There are 6 warnings on the package, instructions, plastic storage box, etc that is so expressive, it's to the point where I'm not sure a child should LOOK at it. Really, above and beyond on warnings that kids should not go near these things.

  • by Un pobre guey ( 593801 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:14PM (#40771021) Homepage
    What has to occur for you to actually get it? When two or more magnets are swallowed, and they come together on opposite sides of intestinal tissue (note that the intestine is intricately folded), life-threatening pinching can occur. Do we have to show you pictures for you to get it? Sock puppets? A video game where you chase little magnets through a child's intestine? A raunchy cartoon on Comedy Central? What, Dude, what?
  • Re:12? (Score:2, Informative)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:21PM (#40771105) Homepage Journal

    You know what I hate? people like you that take any headline seriously with out bothering to read up. Secondly I hate articles that talk about shit like this and omit key facts as an excuse to push a political agenda.
    The fact of the matter, you poor excuse for a limp wristed cum stain, is that it's a labeling issue. That Is All. Change the label,. and they are good to go. Something the company could have done a YEAR AGO and not have had the recall. []

    And this has nothing to do with choking.

  • Better yet, a ban on idiots who don't read the facts of the case? also a ban on people who post these damn articles without any real facts in them.

    This is ridiculous, and when a headline is ridiculous you should follow it to the source. Gather some fact.
    The article is nothing but a set up baseless attack on Obama.
    What has happened is the CPSC told the company that there are reports of injuries. Items like these should be marketed for "14 or older". The company labeled it 13+. The company could have simply change the labels on the new one being produced when the first found out, in 2009. The didn't in 2010, they didn't in 2011. The "Ban" is only on the ones labels 13+

    For some reason, the company is stirring this into a much larger issue then it is,. Sine the company attacks Obama, I suspect Zucker did it intentionally. Why else wouldn't you change your label?

    " This recall involves the Buckyballs® high powered magnets sets labeled "Ages 13+"" []

  • by JDG1980 ( 2438906 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:38PM (#40771297)

    Mod parent up. This is the most informative post so far.

  • by dark12222000 ( 1076451 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:41PM (#40771795)
    It's called a right to bear arms. It's a right because it was considered necessary for the defense of our basic rights.

    In addition, most gun related homicides stem from drug or gang violence - and a large percentage of those cases are using illegally obtained firearms.

    Some of those "homicides" (depending on the statistic set you're using) may be self defense cases.

    So, I'm going to argue that we shouldn't be banning magnets just because some kid is stupid enough to swallow one. I'm also going to argue that banning guns, opposed to banning Bucky balls, does more harm then good, if only because gun ownership does not correlate with homicide.. (Some recent numbers for you) []
  • by makomk ( 752139 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @09:06PM (#40771935) Journal

    Yes, the surgery is needed. If swallowed the magnetic balls stick together through the intestine walls, cutting off circulation and eventually punching holes in the intestines through which the intestinal contents leak into the abdomen. That's just a little fatal without surgery.

  • by starburst ( 63061 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @10:46PM (#40772641)

    According to Alive Past 5 .com

    The Top Five Causes Of Unintentional Injury involving children:

    1. Car Accidents: Kill 260,000 children a year and injure about 10 million children. They are the leading cause of death among children and a leading cause of child disability.
    2. Drowning: Kills more than 175,000 children annually. Up to 3 million children each year survive a drowning incident. Due to brain damage in some survivors, nonfatal drowning has the highest average lifetime health and economic impact of any type of child injury.
    3. Burns: Fire-related burns kill nearly 96,000 children a year.
    4. Falls: Nearly 47,000 children fall to their deaths every year, but hundreds of thousands more children sustain serious injuries from a fall.
    5. Poisoning: More than 45,000 children die each year from unintended poisoning.

    Looks like there is a whole lot more that needs to be banned, or re-labeled. Think of the children.

  • by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @11:02PM (#40772759) Journal

    Automatic weapons are not banned. Whoever gave you that idea. I have two of them sitting beside me right now. Well, actually, they are locked in my gun safe but all you need to do is get a tax stamp for them. I suggest you stop imagining things and take a trip to the machine gun festival and see how many private citizens own fully auto weapons. You might be surprised to find that ordinary citizens can and do own explosives too.

  • by MHolmesIV ( 253236 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @11:23PM (#40772861)

    Sorry, it's you who didn't read the facts here. This administrative action is against _all_ buckyballs, not just the old 13+ ones (which were fixed in 2010)

    You're looking at 2 year old actions and assuming they relate to today's one, but they're only tangentially related.

    Here's the press release about the current action: []
    You'll note that in this release they point out that in both the previous actions, the company was cooperative. That is also pointed out in the actual complaint here: []

    The founder's bizzarre political allegations aside, they are not being misleading about the CPSC complaint.

  • by cawpin ( 875453 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @11:26PM (#40772881)
    Actually, Glocks don't have a particularly light trigger pull. The standard is about 5.5 pounds and LAPD may use the heavy NY1 trigger which is around 8 pounds. There is a light trigger as well at 3.5 pounds.
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:09AM (#40773127)

    Can you name the parents that are stong arming the governemnt here?

    Stephanie Thompson, for one. First hit on first google search. Did you even look, or are you just a (knee) jerk?

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @12:12AM (#40773149)

    "So what you're saying is that someone needs to make a gun that shoots Buckyballs, and then we can buy them again?"

    They already do!

    A "T"-size steel shotgun pellet is about Buckyball size. I don't have a reloading press or any Buckyballs to load, but it would be interesting to shoot a few rounds loaded with nonmagnetic steel shot and compare their pattern on target to that of Buckyballs. []

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @02:33AM (#40773885)

    Generally if they're within innser-stomach distance from each other, they connect instantly and would pass through the digestive track together since it takes significant force to pinch them apart.

    Their safety guidance [] for medical professionals seems to suggest otherwise:

    If more than one magnet was swallowed, it is highly unlikely that they will pass without surgical removal because of their tendency to bind together across membranes.
    Radiographs will be definitive and will show small round spheres, linked together in the gastrointestinal tract.
    Once the diagnosis is confirmed, urgent surgery is indicated to remove the magnets, repair any tissue damage and treat for infection. Patient follow-up is essential. Do not assume that they will pass through the gastrointestinal tract without treatment.
    For more information, please download our complete Diagnosis and Treatment Service Announcement here []

  • by Slashdot Parent ( 995749 ) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:44PM (#40782509)

    Actually, your link is from 2 years ago. The correct current link is here [].

    WASHINGTON, D.C. - In an effort to prevent children from suffering further harm, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) staff filed an administrative complaint today against Maxfield & Oberton Holdings LLC, of New York, N.Y., alleging that Buckyballs and Buckycubes contain a defect in the design, packaging, warnings, and instructions, which pose a substantial risk of injury to the public. The Commission voted 3-1 to approve the filing of the complaint, which seeks, among other things, an order that the firm stops selling Buckyballs and Buckycubes, notify the public of the defect, and offer consumers a full refund.

    So no, this is not a labeling issue. They already corrected the labeling issue. This is about stopping all sales of Buckyballs. Headline is correct. Posting to undo my upmod of your comment because it turns out you are wrong.

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