Magnet Balls are a very popular desktop toy on the market right now. The small 5mm diameter balls are extremely strong for their size and can be molded into any shape imaginable. The magnets are made of the rare earth neodynium and are at least 15 times more powerful than normal magnets.
These little balls stick together with such force that, if they are accidentally swallowed, they can cut holes in the stomach or intestines. Life-threatening injuries like perforations, sepsis and blockages can occur within hours following ingestion. They are manufactured by several different companies and marketed in slim plastic tubes filled with 216 shiny magnetic balls. So who in the world would ever put them in their mouth and swallow them? Young kids and teenagers apparently.
A recent study says that hundreds of children and teens have been treated by physicians, with dozens needing surgery for injuries, in just the past two years after swallowing the super-strong magnetic balls, despite bold labels and warnings to keep them away from children.
The U.S. consumer product watchdog, CPSC, recalled the magnet toys. The balls are sold under brand names such as Buckyballs, Zen Magnets, and NeoCube, which was the first of these toys to hit the market in 2008. While most manufacturers and importers say they will comply with the CPSC recall, two are fighting the recall. The CPSC has sued these manufacturers to force them to stop selling the dangerous product.
The latest study is based on reports compiled by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition. That study found a total of 480 cases in which children or teens swallowed the tiny magnets, with 204 incidents occurring in just the past 12 months. Approximately 80 percent of those incidents required endoscopy or surgery.
More than 50 percent of the cases involved children six years old or younger; 16 percent involved teenagers, who use the magnets to mimic tongue, lip, and nose piercings. Teenagers are putting one magnet under their tongue and one magnet on the top of their tongue to make it appear like a piercing.
If you have some of these magnets and you also have young kids or teenagers, you should either make sure that the balls are safe and secure, or simply trash them. If you want your money back, you can return them to the seller for a full refund under the recall.