If you need a gift idea for the holiday season, you can now buy small, powerful, rare earth magnets known generally as Buckyballs.
Once regulated and banned because of the danger they pose to kids— they can cause very serious injuries requiring surgery— the magnets are now available for purchase again, following a ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that overturned the ban.
The decision is a landmark moment in a long dispute that dates back to 2009, after a man named Craig Zucker started selling Buckyballs and then later clashed with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The commission was concerned about the hazards of the powerful small magnets to children.
“Specifically, if two or more magnets are ingested—a temptation to which children are especially at risk—they can cause serious damage to intestinal tissue that becomes tightly clamped between them,” the recent court ruling explains in background section.
That recent court decision overturned the ban on the magnets that are commonly used a desktop distraction. Zen Magnets, which makes “Buckyball”-like little magnets that it says are much more powerful than a typical refrigerator magnet, celebrated the victory.
“A week ago there was no acceptable warning, no acceptable age, no sales restriction nor waiver that allowed production of magnets like Zen Magnets, Buckyballs, Neoballs, Magnicube or Neocubes,” Zen magnets wrote in a post on their website.
“Today we are excited to once again take orders of Zen Magnets for immediate production,” they added.