The interests of business and of government regulators have met head-on in a battle over the Buckyballs magnetic desk toy. The rare-earth magnets are powerful enough to cause horrific injuries when swallowed by children, and while 11 other makers of similar products have complied with a Consumer Product Safety Commission request to recall the magnets and stop sales, Buckyballs says regulators are going too far, reports the New York Times. "This is government gone absurd," says company co-founder Craig Zucker, who has launched a "Save Our Balls" campaign and won support from prominent conservatives.
The CPSC has filed a complaint that could lead to a mandatory recall if a judge agrees that it is necessary. Zucker says his product is only marketed to adults, and notes that plenty of other products, like window blinds, are still on sale despite the danger they pose to children. Safety advocates, however, say that warning labels and changes in packaging haven't stopped the magnets from causing injuries. "Kids do swallow all kinds of stuff, but few pose the kind of risk that these magnets do," says a pediatric gastroenterologist who treated a toddler with a bowel perforated by the magnets. "These are very unique magnets. They are incredibly powerful."