WASHINGTON -- Buckyballs are high-powered desktop magnetic toys for adults, but some young children are swallowing the tiny magnets and getting hurt. Teens also have accidentally ingested the magnetic balls after trying to mimic tongue piercings, leading the government to take steps to stop the sale of the product.

In an unusual move, the Consumer Product Safety Commission filed an administrative complaint Wednesday against New York-based Maxfield and Oberton, the manufacturer of Buckyballs. The desktop toys have small but very powerful magnets that are strong enough to mold into different shapes.

The safety commission says the company refused to recall the product.

On another front, the agency said it was able to persuade about 10 retailers, including Amazon.com, to stop selling Buckyballs.

In a statement, Maxfield and Oberton called the agency actions "unfair, unjust and un-American." Company founder Craig Zucker said his products are marketed to people 14 and older and carry clear warning labels to keep them away from children.

Since 2009, the product safety commission says, a dozen children have swallowed the magnets, and some required surgery.

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