Buckyballs to be Banned in the US

One of the great things about being a geek is no longer having to make excuses for why you buy toys. I personally own more Transformers than my kids.

But also, there are some toys that are made for adults that use science in a very fun way. For instance Buckyballs.

If you don’t already know what these crazy things are, they are the simplest and most basic in concept, but are just so versatile and crazy fun. A heaping pile of powerful, magnetic, chrome ball bearings is an unlikely toy, but it turns into the most amazing things when piled the right way.

However, by the deep wisdom of the Consumer Product Safety Commission these amazing building products will soon be pulled from shelves, citing that 20 cases of children swallowing them.

Yes, swallowing magnets is bad. They could cross paths in different parts of the digestive track and never become dislodged creating bigger problems. Bad.

Well this is very unfortunate for Craig Zucker, founder and CEO of Maxfield & Oberton who feels that the CPSC is “targeting” their firm and goes as far as to say “and magnets in general”.

I might find that last part to be a little silly, if it was not for the fact that the CPSC is banning a toy because children ate them. The toy is marketed on the box to those of age 13 and over. While the CPSC requires magnetic toys of this power to not be sold to under 14 year-olds, they are splitting hairs. The point is calling it unsafe, and this single year is not exactly going to change the outcome.

There were 20 incidents of misuse of the product by an unintended demographic. There is a warning that it contains (really consists entirely of) small parts. And over half a billion magnets in the market really puts things in perspective.

I personally see this as a parenting fault, and not at all the responsibility of Buckyballs. I mean honestly, with all the existing dangers on toys we willingly give our children, why ban something that was never intended for them.

At this point they should ban bicycles, skateboards, Lego, or any toy that can be ingested or hurt using. But no. They ban a toy meant for teenagers and adult kids.

Is this an issue of poor parenting? Do you think Buckballs are really dangerous?


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