CPSC Approves Strong Federal Safety Standard for High-Powered Magnet Sets to Protect Children and Teenagers

High-powered magnets have caused hospitalizations, surgeries and the death of a toddler
September 25, 2014
Release Number: 14-283
Enlarge
  • High-Powered Magnet Sets

    1 of 1 photos

    High-Powered Magnet Sets

WASHINGTON, D.C. – To protect the safety of  consumers, especially young children, tweens, and teenagers, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted to approve a new national safety standard for high-powered magnet sets.

High-powered magnet sets are hazardous to young children, who have mouthed and ingested these magnets.  The magnets also pose a serious risk to teens and tweens, who have used them to create mock lip, tongue, and nose piercings. 

Hazardous magnet sets include, on average, approximately 200 magnets, although some sets have up to 1,700 magnets.  If multiple magnets are ingested, the magnets attract each other, pinching or trapping intestines or other digestive tissue between them.  The result can be a serious injury that requires surgery and can lead to lifelong health consequences or death.  High-powered magnet sets were found to be responsible for the death of a 19-month-old girl and, according to CPSC analysis, an estimated 2,900 emergency room-treated injuries between 2009 and 2013.  The Commission concluded that the safety standard is necessary to address the unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with these magnet sets.

Under the new CPSC performance standard, an individual magnet from a magnet set either must be large enough that the magnet does not fit into a CPSC small parts cylinder or the power of the magnetic force must be lower than a specified measure. Certain hazardous magnet sets that were previously in the marketplace had a magnetic force that was 37 times greater than what the new performance standard permits.

The rule applies to high-powered magnet sets and to individual magnets that are marketed or intended for use as part of a magnet set.  Magnets manufactured or imported on or after the April 1, 2015 effective date must meet the new performance standard.  Once the safety standard becomes effective, the manufacture, importation, distribution or sale of high-powered magnet sets that are subject to the federal standard and do not comply will be illegal.   

CPSC urges consumers to stop using those high-powered magnets that will not comply with the new federal standard.

Consumers can also visit CPSC’s Magnet Safety Information Center at www.cpsc.gov/magnets for more information, including our “Teen to Teen: Magnet Talk” video and “Magnets Go in Easier Than They Come Out” poster.

The official vote of the Commission was 4-0-1 to approve the final federal safety rule for high-powered magnets.

CPSC Commissioners' statements regarding the vote: