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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 The Raven ( 30575 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:13PM (#40770235) Homepage

    I have 7 sets of them. Well... technically about 6.7 sets. It's hard not to lose one here or there when you play with them nearly daily. I'm just glad that I got them now, before the ban... they are my third favorite toy, behind my computer and my phone. I make bracelets out of multiple colors as transient art (lost as soon as they stretch out and get rearranged), play with them on my desk, and use them as temporary tie tacks if I leave my mine at home.

    Yes, tie tack. Don't knock it, it works!

  • by PeanutButterBreath ( 1224570 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:20PM (#40770349)

    It's hard not to lose one here or there when you play with them nearly daily.


  • a nice company, too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by agrif ( 960591 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:21PM (#40770365) Homepage

    Me and my brother recieved the silver Buckyball cubes as Christmas gifts a few years back. These things are a blast to play with.

    When one of the balls on my brothers set shattered, we called one of the listed numbers for the company to ask about maybe purchasing a replacement ball. The person on the other end was extremely interested in how this happened (apparently they hadn't had a report of a ball shattering before), and offered to send us an entire new set for free. On Christmas day. This was excellent, excellent support for an awesome product.

    It's sad to hear about this.

  • Re:How many... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @06:51PM (#40770783)

    As I have never heard of this being a specific problem here (Europe), and these Magnets are available, I strongly suspect this is a political stunt that banks on the amazing irrationality of the US population.

    The basic problem is that children of a certain age like to swallow things that are bad for them. Its the parent's responsibility to make sure they do not.

    Come to think of irrationality, the number of children getting killed by improperly secured firearms is much higher. Not there is an item nobody with children should leave lying around. Apparently a significant number of US parents are too dumb to realize this. This looks very much like an education problem to me, not a problem of the objects themselves.

  • No, "The Government" is responding to citizen concerns. The people who don't want something banned don't get together to stop it. It's the Citizen who allow this to happen.

  • by nbauman ( 624611 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:12PM (#40771003) Homepage Journal

    I've seen the x-rays.

    The problem is that, if you have 2 of them, they don't pass through the intestine like the other stuff kids swallow. They pinch 2 sections of intestine together, crush them, and cause necrosis and blockage, and, like you said, perforation. The kids can die. They need fairly invasive surgery. There weren't too many deaths, but there were a few. The people who brought them to the attention of the CPSC were the emergency room doctors who were dealing with them.

    The diabolical thing is that they're so interesting that kids are attracted to them.

    Craig Zucker is an asshole. I realize his problem with selling a popular, profitable product, but they've been responsible for a couple of deaths. Too bad. You can't make a million dollars if a 6-year-old kid dies as a result. If somehow he manages to defy or stall the CPSC, he's going to get sued by the next parent whose kid winds up in the ER over them.

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

  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @07:43PM (#40771347)
    For everyone outside the US. Hopefully an over supply will result in lower prices for everyone else at the expense of US citizens, caused by the stupidity of US children and their parents.
  • by amoeba1911 ( 978485 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:13PM (#40771595) Homepage

    To clear up some confusion I found the source on CPSC's own site []. It's slightly more informational than the Reuters summary... But I'm still confused.

    I bought tiny fridge magnets from The Container Store that are actually tiny neodymium cubes [], are they banned also? Are they exempt because they're not toys?

    How about just plain neodymium magnets [] direct from suppliers? Are they banned also or are they exempt because they're not labeled as toys?

    How about a hobby brushless motor kit [] that comes with neodymium magnets? Is that banned also or is that exempt because even though it's a toy the magnets are supplied with the purpose of installing them in the motor?

    So many unanswered questions... I think it would be easier to require all kids to wear muzzles to keep their mouth closed at all times. It would solve all the issues where kids choke on things or eat poisonous/dangerous materials, and has added benefit of muffling their annoying whiny cries.

  • Geek stupidity (Score:2, Interesting)

    by caywen ( 942955 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @08:33PM (#40771741)

    Let me get this straight: A bunch of geeks are all pissed because the prevention of harm and death to young kids is preventing them from buying more of the toys they already have.

    Seriously, get a clue. Find another toy and stfu plz.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @10:18PM (#40772439)

    How many hours apart do you need to swallow them for this effect to take place? 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.

  • Re:How many... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by pdabbadabba ( 720526 ) on Wednesday July 25, 2012 @11:08PM (#40772787) Homepage

    Yet again: you're preaching to the choir. (I happen to be a constitutional I'm kinda up on what the courts think.) I was never claiming that the Second Amendment protects the "right" to buy whatever sort of weapon you want. The comment I was responding to was asking why we haven't banned bullets, and I'm pretty sure THAT would be a 2nd Amendment violation in the eyes of just about any U.S. court. And besides, the 2nd Amendment influences public debate about gun control far beyond it's technical legal scope -- our Constitution has more than just legal effects.

Variables don't; constants aren't.