Buckyballs are back – TechCrunch


Years ago – six years ago, to be exact – a toy called Buckyballs came under attack by government officials intent on destroying fun. The Consumer Product Safety Commission banned the toys, which we noted were tiny rare earth magnets that were good for play but bad for a snack, because a few overzealous children swallowed one or two and found themselves in gastrointestinal distress.

The lawsuit against ZenMagnets, creators of Buckyballs, began as a “recall prior to record of injury,” something unprecedented in this space. That meant the company had to stop selling its magnets before anyone was actually injured, an odd position for a small company to be in.

Now, after six years of battle, Buckyballs are back. The company is now able to sell its biggest set, the Mandala and notes that the sets are not toys. They could cause intestinal pinching, writes the ZenMagnets team, and they recommend not leaving them around animals or small children. However, these odd and wonderful little toys are finally available for purchase. The kit now even comes inside a lockable box to ensure little hands can’t accidentally grab and eat them.

“We remain willing to work with the CPSC to develop the magnet safety standards for which we’ve already petitioned, and which will be more effective and reasonable than the all-ages, nationwide ban we succeeded in vacating in the Tenth Circuit,” wrote founder Shihan Qu. “As we’ve already been doing, Zen Magnets looks forward to providing not just the highest quality magnet spheres on the market, but also the safest in terms of sales methods and warnings. Now that the war on magnets is over, hopefully we can all focus towards the war on magnet misuse.”

“Magnets must be respected, but need not be feared,” he said. Truer words – besides these – were never spoken.

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