Maxfield & Oberton will stop selling the popular magnetic toys known as Buckyballs, effective Dec. 19. "Given the precedent setting legal case before us and the continued badgering by the [Consumer Product Safety Commission], Buckyballs will go the way of Crystal Pepsi and the DeLorean," said the company's chief executive and founder, Craig Zucker, in a statement.
This summer, the CPSC filed a lawsuit to stop the sale of the small super-strong magnets after having received mounting injury reports involving children.
Typically sold in sets of 100 or more balls, cubes, bars, and other shapes as adult desk playthings, the toys are made of the rare-earth mineral neodymium. They are at least 15 times more powerful than standard magnets. When ingested, they can bore holes in the stomach or intestines and cause severe and in some cases life-threatening complications within hours.
Maxfield & Oberton was one of two companies that refused to comply with the CPSC's move to ban the sale of these magnets. Zen Magnets was the other company that contested the CPSC's order. Its founder said that the company might sell the magnets individually, rather than in packs, as a way to avoid federal regulations, according to a report in today's New York Times. Earlier, 11 other manufacturers and importers said they would comply with the CPSC's order.
A study released in October, said that in the past two years hundreds of children and teens who had swallowed the magnetic balls were treated by physicians, with dozens needing surgery.
Maxfield & Oberton Announces 100-Hour Final Deadline to Purchase All Buckyballs Products [PR Newswire]
Safety Worry Leads to End of a Popular Toy Magnet [New York Times]