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Unsafe magnetic balls banned from sale on Trade Me

Unsafe goods: Buckyballs, Neocubes, Neodymium balls, or other variants are banned from Trade Me

25 February 2021

You may have heard the story of how a three-year-old Kiwi lad’s stomach was punctured by tiny magnets that he had swallowed. You might have heard of these magnets known as Buckyballs, Neocubes, Neodymium balls, or other variants.

They are not toys, however it would seem they often end up in the hands of children and apparently over 200 children around the world have swallowed them leading to disastrous outcomes, including death.

Once in the digestive tract, the balls come together, pulling the soft tissues together, eventually puncturing it.

The Minister of Consumer Affairs said in a press release, "Though these magnets tend to be marketed at adults as office toys and many brands carry strict safety warnings, it is clear from the cases here and overseas that they pose too great a risk to children."

The Minister accordingly has issued an Unsafe Goods Notice (UGN) under the Fair Trading Act to prevent the sale of these magnets, a move we support.

Prior to this announcement, Trade Me took the action of removing all listings that we believed would likely be captured by the Unsafe Goods Notice.

We will continue to remove listings that breach the UGN.

We have also sent a note to members who’ve listed these kind of items in the past year.

If you identify any listings that feature these unsafe magnetic balls, please let us know via the Community Watch button (found at the bottom of every listing) and we'll check it out.