Feds Act To Stop Sale Of Magnetic Buckyballs

By: AP/Consumer Reports
By: AP/Consumer Reports

For the first time in 11 years, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has ordered a company to stop selling some high-powered desktop toys because children are getting hurt.

An administrative complaint has been filed against New York-based Maxfield & Oberton, the manufacturer of Buckyballs -- those small but very powerful magnets that are strong enough to mold and shape into different forms and structures on your desk.

The force of the magnets punched through 2-year-old Braylon Jordan's small intestine, almost all of which had to be surgically removed.

His mother, Meaghin Jordan explains, "Braylon isn't allowed to eat anything, so he has to be fed through a tunnel catheter in his chest."

Braylon has to wear an ostomy bag day and night that catches his waste. Still, it could have been worse.

Braylon's physician, Dr. R. Adam Noel says, "Braylon is fortunate to be alive."

In fact, Dr. Noel is conducting a nationwide study and says he's seeing an alarming increase in this type of injury.

Several different companies sell these rare-earth magnets and advertise online, including Buckyballs, Zen Magnets, Magnet Balls, and Neocube.

According to Andrea Rock with Consumer Reports, "They are fascinating, and sales are through the roof. For example, Buckyballs, which has only been on the market since 2009, claims to have annual sales of more than $25-million."

CPSC says the company refused to recall the product. In another front against the company, the agency said it was able to convince about 10 retailers, including Amazon.com and Brookstone, to stop selling Buckyballs.

Since 2009, CPSC says at least a dozen children, from toddlers to teens, have swallowed the magnets. Some required surgery.

A call to Maxfield & Oberton was not immediately returned.

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