Federal officials from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed a lawsuit this week demanding a recall of the magnetic desk toys that have come under scrutiny in recent years because they have caused serious injuries to children.

 

The lawsuit asks the manufacturer of Buckyballs, New York-based Maxfield and Oberton, to stop sales of its magnetic toys and alert consumers that the products are defective. Over the past few years, these magnetic toys have been responsible for numerous injuries to children who have ingested the powerful magnets. One is bad enough, but when a child ingests more than one magnet (or a magnet and a metal object for the particularly adventurous child) the two pieces can attract each other through the digestive tissue and cause tears or blockages of the gastrointestinal tract. The injuries documented thus far have been severe and in a few cases, fatal.

 

From the CPSC website:

 

"In response to a request from CPSC staff, a number of retailers have voluntarily agreed to stop selling Buckyballs, Buckycubes, and similar products manufactured by other companies. CPSC staff called upon these retailers to cease distribution of high-powered, manipulative magnetic products after dozens of young children and teenagers swallowed multiple magnets, which connected inside their gastrointestinal tracts and caused internal injuries requiring surgery. The online marketplace eBay has also agreed to implement steps to remove listings by sellers for these items."

 

Maxfield & Oberton issued a response to the CPSC lawsuit entitled "Thank you for trying to drive a $50 million New York-based consumer product company out of business."

 

"We 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."

 

For more on the recall and lawsuit, check out the CPSC website.

 

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