After a lengthy legal battle, a voluntary recall was issued for Buckyballs and Buckycubes, the high-powered magnetic toys, for an “unreasonable risk of injury” for teenagers and children. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), many young people suffered injuries, some of which needed surgery, after ingesting the magnets. The agency said it will also be illegal to sell, distrubite or import the magnetic sets in the U.S.
The CPSC announced the recall as part of a settlement filed in July 2012 of the desk toys made with rare-Earth magnets that can be stacked or shaped. The settlement calls for former Maxfield & Oberton Holdings CEO and Buckyballs creator Craig Zucker to fund a Recall Trust for consumers to return the Buckyballs and be refunded their money.
The recall stemmed from 1,700 reports of incidents of ingestions of Buckyballs since 2009 causing internal injuries. In some of these cases, the CPSC likened the injuries to “a gunshot wound to the gut with no sign of entry or exit” and required surgery. The CPSC said that if multiple Buckyballs were ingested, the toys have to potential to pull together inside the victim’s stomach and cause damage to the digestive system. Reports have ranged from pulling the intestines into loops and creating holes in internal organs resulting in infection.
While Buckyballs and Buckycubes are marketed as adult toys, the agency said the toys are potential hazards for children and teens, who have used them to mimic facial piercings.
"We believe there is a very serious hazard with this product, potentially deadly," CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson. "We want parents to take away the Buckyballs and the Buckycubes from any access to their children now, and take full advantage of the recall."
The CPSC has been fighting to rid of the toys since July 2012, when it was believed Buckyballs were banned for sale. Now, under the settlement, it will be "illegal under federal law for any person to sell, offer for sale, manufacture, distribute in commerce, or import into the United States any Buckyballs or Buckycubes magnetic set," the CPSC wrote.
For now, the CPSC said consumers should immediately stop use of all Buckyballs and Buckycubes and look for any magnets that have become separated from the set.
The recall is part of a settlement reached with Zucker, who will be responsible to fund a $375,000 Recall Trust to be controlled by the CPSC. From this trust, consumers who own and return Buckyballs and Buckycubes will receive a refund. The CPSC said it will notify consumers when the Recall Trust is created and the process by which to get the refund. Zucker’s fund will also be used to establish a website for information about the recall along with a registration section to file claims.
The CPSC said consumers should sign up for email alerts on the agency website to be notified of the start of the recall and how to receive a refund.