Buckyballs Recalled: Determined to be Danger to Children

As a result of the settlement of a very rare lawsuit filed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the agency recently announced a voluntary recall of all Buckyballs, which are small desk toys that contain very small high powered magnetic pellets that can be molded into shapes. Another part of the settlement requires the founder of the company, Craig Zucker, to fund a Recall Trust, which will be administered and controlled by the CPSC.

The lawsuit and the recall came because, since Buckyballs hit the market in 2009, the CPSC has received more than 1,700 reports in which the pellets from Buckyballs had been ingested by children, with many of those requiring surgery to correct. In one case, doctors had to remove nearly all of a 2-year-old’s small intestine after the child ingested just eight of the tiny magnetic pellets. The child now needs to be fed through a feeding tube into his abdomen.

In 2010, Zucker attempted to help the CPSC by adding a “Keep away from children” label to the product packaging, and by appearing in a CPSC-sponsored video about the dangers inherent in ingesting magnets. Zucker also created a website regarding magnet safety. But the incidents continued to pile up, and the commission determined those measures to be inadequate. They asked Zucker’s company, Maxfield and Oberton Holdings, LLC, to initiate a recall in 2012, and took the unusual step of filing an administrative action after Zucker dissolved the company in December 2013. The lawsuit and the subsequent recall are designed to protect people, especially children, from injuries that are possible when several powerful magnets are swallowed.

As part of the recall process, the CPSC has asked everyone who has purchased Buckyballs to immediately stop using the toy, and to make sure their set is complete, with no missing pellets. Once Zucker has set up the Recall Trust, the Commission will advise consumers of the process for returning the Buckyballs (and a related toy, Buckycubes) and getting a full refund. Those consumers affected will have six months to ask for a refund. The CPSC has also set up a system whereby consumers can receive email alerts from the agency when the recall starts.

The settlement also makes it a federal crime for anyone to sell, manufacture, import or distribute any high-powered magnet sets similar to Buckyballs, and resolves the CPSC’s allegation that such toys create a substantial product hazard. At one point, Zucker disputed the allegations, until he agreed to the settlement.

If your child, or any loved one, has been injured or sickened, and the culprit is a defective toy, please contact the Texas Defective Product Injury Lawyer at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible to protect your rights.

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