Buckyballs — the addictive magnetic building balls marketed to adults as office timewasters — have been banned effective immediately, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has cited choking and swallowing hazards increasing as the reason for the sudden decision.
Buckyballs and sister product Buckycubes have been actively trying to spread the word that Buckyballs are not for kids, even adding a special dedicated safety page with video to their website. But it appears that even the company’s strongest efforts to keep the toys as an adults-only frippery have not stemmed incidents involving kids ingesting Buckyballs and Buckycubes, sometimes requiring serious medical intervention to correct injuries sustained due to the small, rare-Earth magnets.
Buckyballs has amassed more than 36,000 fans on Facebook, but the company has not yet updated to reflect the CPSC’s decision in regards to their popular line of desktoys. The CPSC today ordered distributor Maxfield and Oberton Holdings of New York to immediately halt sales of the product due to increasing numbers of injuries in children.
The CPSC acknowledged that Maxfield and Oberton Holdings had taken steps to prevent children ingesting Buckyballs, but said that the efforts had not curbed the incidents causing injury to kids. Citing a “substantial product hazard,” the agency said:
“Notwithstanding the labeling, warnings and efforts taken by (Maxfield and Oberton), ingestion incidents continued to rise because warnings are ineffective.”
In response to the ban — the first stop-sale ban issued by the CPSC in more than decade — Maxfield and Oberton CEO Craig Zucker lashed out at “action taken by President Obama’s handpicked agency,” and decried the “absurd position” by the CPSC that Buckyballs should be removed from the market immediately.
Zucker vowed to fight the Buckyballs ban, and as of 5PM Wednesday, both Amazon and ThinkGeek have removed Buckyballs from their websites — but it appears ordering is still operational on the Buckyballs website.