The Consumer Product Safety Commission has just banned the sale of Buckyballs, those magic magnets that can be shaped any which way, because the balls are a serious health hazard for children. It's the first stop-sale order by the CPSC in 11 years.
Update: The CPSC contacted us saying that the CPSC is "actually suing the firm to stop sale and to issue a recall of the product." Which means, Buckyballs isn't banned quite yet. However, the CPSC is still moving forward with a lawsuit that is seeking a stop-sale of Buckyballs (its first stop-sale in 11 years).
Retailers like Amazon, Urban Outfitters and Brookstone have already agreed to stop selling Buckyballs (and similar products) and the CSPC has ordered distributor Maxfield and Oberton Holdings of New York to halt sales and issue refunds for the rare earth magnets. The CSPC said that Buckyballs are a "substantial product hazard" and are concerned by the injuries it causes to kids who swallow them:
"Notwithstanding the labeling, warnings and efforts taken by (Maxfield and Oberton), ingestion incidents continued to rise because warnings are ineffective"
When swallowed, the CSPC says that Buckyballs have the potential to pinch and trap intestines and require surgery to remove. Yikes! The CSPC had issued a health warning regarding Buckyballs last year but have decided today to move forward in shutting it down. Predictably, Buckyballs won't go down without a fight, Craig Zucker, CEO of Buckyballs, said that it'll "vigorously fight this action taken by President Obama's handpicked agency."
Them fighting words. In any case, if you see some Buckyballs lying around, snatch 'em up before they're gone. At the moment, it looks like Buckyballs is ducking the CSPC and still selling Buckyballs on its site. [USA Today, Reuters]