Many of the products containing the rare earth magnets have been remarketed under new names
A few years ago, desktop magnet sculptures were a popular gift, especially around the holidays. Made up of dozens of tiny magnetic balls, they decorated the offices of numerous executives and hard-to-shop-for bosses. Sometimes marketed under the name Buckyballs, Zen Magnets, Magnicube, or Neoballs, the little metal balls are actually rare earth magnets. As such, they are extremely powerful—so powerful, in fact, that they can cause gruesome injuries if swallowed.
After a 19-month-old child died from swallowing several of the magnets, which caused a perforated bowel, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) banned the sale of Buckyballs and similar products in the United States in 2014. USA Today reports that about 7,700 other children suffered injuries related to ingesting the magnets.
Doctors say the magnets are dangerous because doctors don’t immediately think to look for them in the intestines when a child presents at the doctor’s office or the emergency room with stomach complaints. In the case involving the tragic death of the child who swallowed the magnets, doctors initially diagnosed her with a virus. It was only after an autopsy was performed that doctors discovered the presence of the magnets, which the child swallowed after her brothers brought home a necklace containing the magnets from school.
The Return of Deadly Rare Earth Magnets
However, the CPSC ban was not the end for the deadly magnets. After winning an appeal in court, the desktop magnet sculptures are back and are now being sold under various names just in time for the big holiday shopping rush.
According to a Popular Science report, “Since the small magnets are remarkably strong, they can attract one another even from some distance away. That means they can pull themselves together inside of you, breaking through bodily tissues to do so.”
This is not just theory—these injuries have happened repeatedly to young children across the country, including a toddler who swallowed 37 of the tiny magnets and a six-year-old who sustained intestinal injuries after ingesting 19 of the balls.
Despite these horrific injuries, an administrative law judge ruled in 2016 that the dangers posed by the magnets are outweighed by the benefits, including uses in the educational sector.
Parents: Be Wary When Buying Toys This Holiday Season
Many of the products containing the rare earth magnets have been remarketed under new names. New York dangerous products lawyer Jonathan C. Reiter says, “Parents and caregivers must use extreme caution when shopping for toys that may contain these types of magnets, especially if they have young children who may put the magnets in their mouth. Always carefully read the packaging and contents before buying.”
Jonathan C. Reiter Aviation Lawyer New York : T: 212-736-0979.
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