Most of the time, when a company is alerted to a defect within one of the products they’ve marketed, said firm simply complies with recall directives as set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The CPSC has only filed one administrative complaint against a company in the past 11 years.
That track record changed a couple days ago, however, when the CPSC voted 3 to 1 to sue Maxfield & Oberton Holdings LLC, a company based out of New York City. Recently, the CPSC and the company met to discuss steps that could be taken to implement a successful recall plan in regards to Buckycubes and Buckyballs. Those talks did not lead to the two sides reaching an agreement.
It all began in 2009, when the CPSC began fielding complaints relating to the ingestion of rare earth magnets. These magnets, in addition to being contained within Buckycube and Buckyball toy sets, are often used by teenagers to make it look like they’ve had their tongue pierced when they really haven’t. Unfortunately, this has led to accidental ingestion of the magnets. Young children have also swallowed the items. There exists a serious danger that if two or more magnets are swallowed, they can attract to each other, regardless of whether stomach lining or intestines are in the way. This could cause serious health issues.
A dozen complaints arose in conjunction with Buckyballs, which contain 216 magnets. Two years ago, the company issued a cooperative recall in order to change a label from reading “Ages 13+” to one saying the items should only be sold to persons older than 14. Federal law prohibited the magnets from being sold to anyone younger than that.
After that cooperative recall was launched, reports of surgery involving magnets from the Buckyball sets continued to reach the CPSC. In November of last year, Maxfield & Oberton and the CPSC attempted to raise awareness of the fact that the magnet sets should only be used by adults, but incident reports continued to flood in.
Because of all this, and because reports of toddlers finding the magnets continued to be filed, the CPSC seeks an immediate recall of the aforementioned products. They want Maxfield & Oberton to warn the public of the defect, stop selling the items, and give refunds to anyone who has purchased the products.
The CPSC has reached out to various retailers to get them to cease selling not only these products, but other products contain similar magnets. Many retailers have agreed. The online platform eBay has also agreed to bar sellers from listing the hazardous magnet products as being for sale on their website.
There is as of yet no word from Maxfield & Oberton as to their response to the CPSC’s administrative complaint. If you have one of these products, it’s best to be safe and cease use until the problem can be sorted out.