CPSC Approves New National Safety Standards for High Powered Magnets

CPSC Approves New National Safety Standards for High Powered Magnets
Image: NCCC
September 26, 2014

High powered magnet sets will now have to comply with new federal safety regulations because they were deemed hazardous to young children and teenagers.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) approved the new regulations, which will determine the size and power of the magnetic force. According to the Commission, the magnets were responsible for 2,900 emergency room visits, and one toddler death, between 2009 and 2013.

The magnet sets, which are intended for adults, contain between 200 and 1,700 magnets. The magnets have been swallowed by young children and teenagers have used them as mock facial piercings. If the magnets are swallowed, they can become stuck in the digestive tract. If multiple magnets are ingested, they can become stuck together through the intestinal wall. Surgery is then required to remove the magnets.

Under the new standards, an individual magnet from a set must either - to prevent ingestion - be large enough so that the magnet does for fit into a CPSC small parts cylinder or the power of the magnetic force must be lower than a specified measure. Prior to their recall some of the magnet sets on the market had a magnetic force that was 37 times greater than the new standard.

The new standard will come into effect 180 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register.

After that, these standards will apply to all high-powered magnet sets and individual magnets that are marketed or intended for use as part of a magnet set. Sets that don't comply will be illegal.

The Commission has been investigating these types of magnets since 2009. In August it settled with one company, Star Networks, which agreed to issue a recall and pull its Magnicube product from the shelves.

More information can be found on the CPSC website, cpsc.gov/magnets.