Buckyballs maker gives up

“Oh Buckyballs, my Buckyballs. The addictive magnetic desk toy succumbs to government pressure and resigns itself to life as a cherished relic of the past.” [Amanda Kooser, CNet] Earlier on the manufacturer’s war with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) here, here, etc.


  • I often sympathize with libertarian arguments, but in this case prefer safety workarounds for a real hazard. Competitor Nanodots took a better approach:

  • I bought a set while I still can.

    If someone has kids who are small enough to eat magnets, it is not hard to keep the magnets out of their reach.

  • At least so far, though, it hasn’t helped them, as they still can’t sell Nanodots in the USA.

  • (having further checked, that’s actually because they haven’t released the ones with the safety coating yet anywhere–still in beta, so to speak)

  • This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • Thank you CPSC for making me safer, I could not have made a smart purchase decision by myself had this product been available for sale…
    Thank you for taking the choice away from me.


  • Very disappointing, but not altogether surprising. It’s not cheap to fight the feds. More private sector jobs lost to the zeal of the nanny-state.

  • I’ve skimmed the proposed rulemaking, and I don’t see anything in there that would exempt Nanodots based on their aversive coating. Never having commented on a proposed rule, I have to ask: do federal agencies generally change a proposal based on feedback (e.g. allow products that carry a warning, exempt coated balls, etc.), or is the process purely for show?

    Interesting how when confronted with a problem (stop children from putting magnetic balls in their mouth), Canadians come up with a technical solution while Americans come up with a legal solution.


  • Some comments miss the point. The safety risk emerges only when two or more objects are swallowed and then manage to align themselves before being passed on.

    Some years ago a propane truck hit a bridge abutment in Westchester County and caught fire killing the driver. Are bridges too much of a risk? Are propane trucks too much of a risk?

    The reader can come up with his own examples of non risks. The Buckyballs matter is the placing of imaginings over reality. Cribs suffer the same idiocy.

  • Bought two packages when I heard about their fight with the Feds. It really seems like the Feds are in opposition to the American people. I think we should put the Chevy Volts out of business, they are much more hazardous to the public than Buckyballs. With Buckyballs you can avoid swallowing them, with a Volt you have no way to prevent them catching spontaneously on FIRE or exploding like they did during Sandy. Hey Feds why don’t you protect us from REAL Hazards.

  • Texann,
    I believe you have mistaken the Volt for the 16 Fiskar vehicles which caught fire at the New Jersey port. Fiskar Karma Port Fire. Not to be confused with the Fiskar Karma fire in North Texas in a home owner’s garage, or the fires being blamed on a firefighter’s attempt to siphon gas for his own vehicle.

    My understanding is that the source of the North Texas fire is disputed, the Fiskar fire at the California dealer was a faulty headlamp circuit, and the New Jersey port fires are being attributed to sat water effects on the Vehicle Control Modules.

    The Volt, on the other hand, has a considerably less storied history, in spite of having far more vehicles on the road. That’s two fires, plus sparks from a third battery – hours or days after testing. No explosiong that I can recall. Earlier this year, NHTSA released a statement about the Volt fires.

  • Correction to my post above – second paragraph – wasn’t outside a CA dealer, it was at a CA grocer, as the article makes clear. I should have double checked my recollections while linking to the article.

    Apologies for my error.