The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently announced that an agreement had been reached with the creator of Buckyballs to issue a voluntary recall of their high-powered magnet toys. These rare-earth magnets have been marketed within toy stores and large chain stores as desk toys. Buckyballs and similar products are typically sold in packs of multiples, sometimes numbering 100 or more in a single pack. Due to their small size, they pose a high risk of accidental ingestion in children and toddlers. High-powered magnets have also been accidentally ingested by teenagers following their use as non-piercing nose rings, lip rings, and tongue rings. When multiple magnets are ingested, they pose a substantial risk of intestinal injury, including obstruction, ulceration, and perforation.
The agreement with the creator of Buckyballs is the end result of an administrative case filed nearly two years ago by the CPSC in July 2012. Pediatric gastroenterologists and NASPGHAN leadership have been instrumental in warning policy makers and consumers about the dangers that these high-powered magnets pose to both children and teenagers, and this recall illustrates the impact that advocacy through our national organization can have on the well-being of our patients.
For more information regarding the recall, a link to the CPSC press release is listed below. The creator of Buckyballs has agreed to provide funding for a recall trust, which will be controlled by the CPSC. Once this trust has been established, consumers will be allowed to seek a refund through an online registration process. The CPSC is asking consumers to sign up for email alerts in order to be notified when the recall has officially started.
Important JPGN publications regarding the emerging trend of magnet ingestion and the management of magnet ingestions in children are listed below as well. Congratulations to everyone who has worked hard to see this important advocacy issue to this initial step toward completion.
CPSC Recall Information
Magnet-Related Injury Rates in Children: A Single Hospital Experience. JPGN 2013; 57: 14-17
Magnet Ingestions in Children Presenting to US Emergency Departments, 2002-2011. JPGN 2013; 57: 18-22
Management of Ingested Magnets in Children. JPGN 2012; 55: 239-242