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The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) filed an administrative complaint against the makers of Buckyballs aiming to stop the sale of the magnetic toys due to safety concerns.
Buckyballs are aimed at adults and are basically small powerful magnets that can be manipulated into different shapes.
The CPSC says that while the toys are meant for use by adults, young children have been getting a hold of them and swallowing them. No deaths have been reported, but at least a dozen children needed emergency surgery to remove the magnets, reports The Associated Press.
For young children, Buckyballs pose a danger as they can resemble candy. A four-year-old boy ingested three Buckyballs magnets that he thought were chocolate, reports the AP. In addition, many teens have been using Buckyballs to mimic having a tongue piercing. With magnets on either side of their tongue, teens have accidentally swallowed the magnets.
The CPSC had been hoping that Maxfield and Oberton, the manufacturers of Buckyballs, would pull the toys off store shelves. However, the company reportedly refused to recall the product saying that its products are marketed to people 14 and older and carry clear warning labels. Now the federal agency is hoping that a judge will order the company to stop selling this product.
Regardless of the administrative action against Buckyballs, consumers injured by these products should know they can seek legal remedies against the company. For example, if Maxfield and Oberton could have made their product safer for children or marketed their product more effectively, the company could be responsible in a product liability lawsuit.