One of the great things about the American marketplace is that virtually
anyone with a novel or interesting product idea can turn it into a reality.
But this is also one of the worst things about the American marketplace.
A novel idea on paper may be a
dangerous product in reality. By the time the dangers are fully realized, the product may
already be in more than half a billion of homes.
So it seems to be with a product called Buckyballs. These balls and a similar
product called Buckycubes are small and powerful magnets which can be
stacked into interesting shapes. Unfortunately, they pose a significant
threat to children if accidentally swallowed.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has been fighting for about two
years to get Buckyballs and Buckycubes recalled by the manufacturer. The
CPSC estimates that between 2009 and 2011, high-powered magnet products
like Buckyballs have been responsible for sending approximately 1,700
children to the emergency room.
The commission ordered the company to recall its products in 2012 and to
offer refunds to customers. The manufacturer fought the order but went
out of business a few months later. The CPSC transferred recall and refund
liability to the defunct company’s founder. He will be required
to pay as much as $375,000 in consumer refunds under the recently reached
This is one dangerous product that has been taken off the market, but there
are many more out there. The CPSC and other safety regulators do important
work but their reach is limited. If you or a loved one has been injured
by a dangerous or defective product, please share your concerns with an
experienced personal injury attorney.
Source: The New York Times, "
After Two-Year Fight, Consumer Agency Orders Recall of Buckyballs," Rachel Abrams, July 17, 2014