RIP Buckyballs: Desk Toy Falls Victim to Consumer Safety Agency

Nov 2, 2012

On Dia de las Muertos, Latin American families honor deceased friends and family members. So it’s only fitting that we take a moment today to honor an adult desk toy that is, alas, no longer.

That’s right—Buckyballs are no more, thanks to a heavy-handed federal agency.

The maker of Buckyballs announced their sad decision on their website this week:

Due to baseless and relentless legal badgering by a certain four letter government agency, it’s time to bid a fond farewell to the world’s most popular adult desktoys, Buckyballs and Buckycubes. That’s right: like the DeLorean, Crystal Pepsi and other beloved products of yore, we’re sad to say that Balls & Cubes have a one-way ticket to the Land-of-Awesome-Stuff-You-Should-Have-Bought-When-You-Had-the-Chance.”

That four-letter agency would be the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Like a really super strong magnet that wipes out an entire computer disk, the CPSC has gone after the magnetic desk toy industry, intent on wiping them out. In July, the CSPC issued its first stop-sale order in 11 years, saying the magnetic toys “pose a substantial risk of injury to the public,” after cases of children and teens misusing the product and injuring themselves arose.

As a result of the CPSC lawsuit, 11 of the 13 manufacturers and importers of the high-powered magnet sets agreed to stop selling the products. However, Buckyballs maker Maxfield & Oberton continued to fight the decision, launching a public relations campaign to save its product and its livelihood. 

CPSC Commissioner Nancy Nord recently spoke at the U.S. Chamber and warned that the CPSC’s unprecedented actions would likely put the small New York-based company out of business.

“We are issuing regulations without having done the necessary work to understand the impact of our actions both on those being regulated and on the public. As a result we have imposed regulatory burdens and caused people to lose their livelihoods without a real payback in terms of safety,” Nord said.

Now, the company is purging its inventory, selling off the remaining stock of Buckyballs and Buckycubes and donating a portion of the proceeds to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. 

Goodbye, Buckyballs. Safe journeys to the land of unloved toys that have also fallen victim to CPSC's scythe. 

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