First they came for our Buckyballs. Now, or pretty-much-exact-same Zen Magnets are in Uncle Sam's crosshairs, with a lawsuit from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to boot them off store shelves. The War on Toy Magnets has begun.
Citing "ongoing harm to children from ingested magnets," the USCPSC just voted to sue Zen Magnets. And if what it says is true, these things can cause some pretty gruesome physical damage!
When two or more magnets are swallowed, they can pinch or trap the intestinal walls or other digestive tissue between them resulting in acute and long-term health consequences. Magnets that attract through the intestines result in progressive tissue injury. Such conditions can lead to infection, sepsis and possibly death. Medical professionals may not be aware of the dangers posed by ingestion and the corresponding need for immediate medical intervention in such cases, exacerbating the life-threatening internal injuries.
That sounds awful. But perhaps more profoundly, the lawsuit restates the obvious truth that our nation is inhabited by a lot of really stupid people:
The complaint alleges that the Commission has received reports of tweens and teenagers using similar products to mimic piercings of the tongue, lip or cheek which have resulted in incidents where the product is unintentionally inhaled and swallowed.
You stupid tweens and teens! You stupid dumb idiots.
Zen Magnets released a statement denying that their balls have ever hurt anyone, and listing letters from magnetic ball fans pleading with the government to keep said balls free. Instead, let's blame other deathtrap toys:
Meanwhile, there will be about 100,000 injuries every year in the United States due to backyard trampolines which require Emergency Room treatment, and trampolines are marketed to children. The United States has over 5,000 childhood gun related deaths in a year. 30 American children will die from drowning in Buckets every year. And there have been more skateboard fatalities in 1 year than magnet sphere related injuries in 3.
Stupid tweens, stupid trampoline magnet tweens. [CPSC]