Consumer Freedom

Buckyballs vs The Consumer Products Safety Commission


"We are the first compay in 11 years who has said no to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission," says Craig Zucker, co-founder and CEO of Maxfeild and Oberton, creators of the popular magnetic desktoy Buckyballs. Citing roughly two dozen instances in which these magnets were swallowed by children and teenagers, the Consumer Products Safety Commission recently filled a lawsuit to recall and stop their sale. Zucker, however, is not backing down. "We are not going to recall the product….We'll fight it and we'll fight vigorously."

"Our packaging has five warnings on it, we don't sell to stores that sell only children's products, and we don't sell to toy stores," Zucker explained. "There is a level of personal responsibility that comes into play when it comes to consumer product safety." 

Zucker sat down with Reason TV's Kennedy to discuss the recall, the bullying tactics employed by the CPSC, and how they are pushing back with their "Save Our Balls" campaign.

Shot by Jim Epstein and Anthony Fisher. Edited by Joshua Swain.

Approx. 4 minutes.

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  1. More jobs created or saved!

  2. Teenagers swallowing Bucky’s balls? Wut?

    1. I can understand taking reasonable measures to protect kids from these things (like package warnings). But if a teenager eats these, we’re probably better off without him.

  3. Citing roughly two dozen instances in which these magnets were swallowed by children and teenagers, the Consumer Products Safety Commission recently filled a lawsuit to recall and stop their sale.

    A whole two dozen? Wow, I guess the government has solved all of the other more pressing problems.

    1. They’re worried it will cut into the supply of future soldiers for Afghanistan.

  4. We can fight or do what’s American and work together. Funny how this solution by Nanodots isn’t reported by the new any where. Fighting makes better press right?…..rsivetech/

    1. Dammit, now those teenagers will eat even *more* Buckyballs!

    2. The American solution is to fight and to the winner go the spoils. Working together is Marxist.

  5. how they are pushing back with their “Save Our Balls” campaign

    Is this their theme song?

    1. No, it’s this.

  6. I ordered some right when the lawsuit was announced. Ordered more this week.

    1. I ordered some a few months back when I heard about the upcoming ban. I figured I had better get them before the Nanny state determines I’m not smart enough to play with magnets.

  7. I bought some for my daughter (Now Ten) when they first came out.

    My only instruction to her: Don’t eat them.

    Number of problems suffered: 0

  8. I would have gone with the “suck my balls” campaign, but I suppose that might be too close to encouraging people to swallow them.

    How many children and teenagers were injured by swallowing small pebbles they found on the ground? The world is full of things of similar size and density to small spherical magnets.

    1. The world is full of things of similar size and density to small spherical magnets.

      The problem is they are really strong magnets. So if you swallow one and put something metal near where the ball is in your body it can cause problems.

      They pose a risk greater then swallowing other small metal things.

      Of course I have drano under my sink, my heater is open flame gas and i am within 5 feet of a power outlet. All of which are far more dangerous then any little magnet.

    2. If you swallow two of the balls, 30-60 minutes apart, no power on this Earth can save your life. Cyanide is just as certain a death, and far less painful.

      It has to do with the behavior of two strong magnets in close proximity, but with intestinal walls separating them.

      1. No power on this Earth? That’s a bit extreme. They could remove part of your intestine. You don’t need it to live, though your life will be much less comfortable and much more expensive without it.

      2. “If you swallow two of the balls, 30-60 minutes apart, no power on this Earth can save your life.”

        That’s just a ridiculous comment. Surely you aren’t serious. People get shot in the gut all the time and live. Which do you think would do more damage a high velocity bullet or two magnets?

  9. Maybe CPSC should sue the treasury to recall pennies. There have been a number of incidents of medical problems caused by swallowed pennies.
    I had a link but it exceeded the 50 character limit.

    1. Pennies don’t attract eachother with sufficient force to shred intestines.

      1. So? Pennies can jam up your intestines just the same.

        1. Jammed intestines can be fixed surgically. The damage done by two magnets in the intestines, not so much.

          Of course, you’d almost have to be trying to kill yourself to eat them at precisely the right times to cause trouble.

          1. Two magnets create a small hole in each of the two loops of intestine that the magnets were in when they found each other Period. They don’t “shred” anything. The damage is repaired by suturing the holes shut or rarely having to resect a small piece if intestine. Stop the insane fear mongering.

            BTW I am a trauma/general surgeon.

  10. Citing roughly two dozen instances in which these magnets were swallowed by children and teenagers

    So 24 people swallowed em…how many of those 24 were injured in anyway?

    1. Depends on how many bucky balls they swallowed and the interval. Two or more balls 30-60 minutes apart would yield a nearly 100% mortality rate.

      1. You mean surgery won’t save you? Really?

        1. You’d probably need an intestine donor at that point.

        1. James Clerk Maxwell.

    2. According to CPSC there is one documented case of a 20 month old dying. 19 kids needed surgery to remove the balls.

      I believe Gindjurra’s scenario is pretty much a perfect storm of bad luck/stupidity. Eating just one or a bunch of them in sequence probably wouldn’t cause the magnetic evisceration he’s describing.

  11. Here’s a couple of paragraphs from a 7/27/12 piece about ’em.. and Daisy (“You could put your eye out”) BB guns :

    Maxfield Oberton refuses to comply with the CPSC’s request, saying that to do so would effectively put the company out of business. This is the first time in 11 years that the CPSC has had a recall refused; the last company to do so was Daisy Manufacturing, which in 2001 declined to recall 7.3 million BB guns. (The case was later settled when Daisy agreed to put more prominent safety warnings on the guns.)

    Since the commission issued its complaint, Web sales of Buckyballs have increased “fifty-fold,” according to Zucker. People are ordering the product in droves, he says, just in case the company has to fold. If that happens, procrastinating office workers will have to find another, child-friendlier way to amuse themselves in the office. I wonder how the CPSC feels about people who stab things with letter openers.

    1. I wonder how the CPSC feels about people who stab things with letter openers

      I stabbed my brother with a letter opener…

      1. I grew up on a farm with cattle, and nothing else. We didn’t have buckyballs, what we did for kicks was throw rocks at each other. Now I have over five sets of buckyballs and I don’t get hit by rocks.

      2. I hit the neighbor’s kid in the head when we were sword-fighting with aluminum baseball bats.

        Ban baseball!

  12. OK. We can work with this. Here’s the plan folks.

    We need several children to volunteer for the greater good, and swallow K.D. Lang CD’s.

  13. Quick Google search turned this up, use promo code SaveOnBalls and save 60% (today is the last day) on your order off their site.

  14. More characteristics, novel style,varieties,and good quality low price

  15. Someone tap CPSC on the shoulder and tell them about those sharp knives everyone has in their kitchens, with easy access by kids. I can’t bear to break the news.

  16. This may seem like splitting hairs but the CEO claimed that when his nieces and nephews come over he doesn’t have buckyballs in his house. This is a little hard to believe. Does he just throw them away and swipe some more from the factory everytime his sister brings her kids over? No, I’m sure he meant that he puts them away in a safe place. That’s all well and good but he’s openly admitting that buckyballs are unsafe for children. Regardless of how unsafe other products are that will bury him in the legal system. Bureaucrats don’t like to be challenged and the leftist leaning executive branch along with leftist leaning judges will most certainly nail him and his company to the cross as a warning to every other company out there who dares challenge Chairman Obama’s authority.

  17. We need more people, and Governors, to stand up to the feds.

    I read an article the other day about the Bureau of Land Management telling a landowner in Wyoming he can’t graze cattle unless he can account for all their emissions — count the cow flatulence, as it were.

    The State should pass a law allowing the grazing — and then escort any federal bureaucrats that get in the way with State law to the State line. They should ignore the federal courts when they strike down State laws. The only way to get our federal government back to where it belongs is stuff like this.

  18. More characteristics, novel style,varieties,and good quality low price

  19. I was sad about this, However just export them out of Country and sell them there.


  20. Buckyballs are insanely addictive, and they were an instant hit with a huge community of enthusiasts who shared photos of their creations online.

  21. This allows you to slide them and glide them and stack them really easy. You can make your own buildings and cities. You can fold grids of Buckyballs on top of each other.

  22. The World’s favor marketing Desk toy! Each and every Buckyballs cube consists of 125 effective unusual earth magnetic balls that can be shaped, molded, torn apart and snapped jointly in limitless ways.

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