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Buckyballs, Other High-Powered Magnet Sets Pose Danger To Children

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to approve a proposed product safety directive that would prohibit the manufacturing and sale of small, high-powered magnet sets like “Buckyballs, Buckycubes, and Zen Magnets” which have caused internal injuries to dozens of children. 

Buckyballs (Flickr: Vitroid)Earlier this year, Menendez called on the agency to look into reports of injuries caused to children who swallowed the magnets, which were marketed and sold as toys.

“Clearly, no warning label is going to be enough to stop a curious child from swallowing these powerful magnetic ‘toys,’ which evidence has proven are highly dangerous,” said Menendez.  “That means we must protect our children by removing the danger altogether and I urge the commission to approve this action.”

In a letter to Senator Menendez on August 21, CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum informed the Senator that CPSC “experts do not believe warnings will ever be effective to protect children from this hidden hazard.”

Last month, in response to Senator Menendez’s request for action to ensure these high-powered magnets were

not marketed or distributed in a way that could result in injuries to children, the CPSC filed an administrative complaint against the Buckyballs and Buckycubes retailer, ordering them to stop selling the products, notify the public of the hazards they pose to children’s safety and offer consumers a full refund.

Later, the commission filed an administrative complaint against an additional retailer and received voluntary agreements from a number of retailers to temporarily cease selling the products, including 11 that imported the magnets from China.

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