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CPSC Starts Rulemaking to Develop New Federal Standard for Hazardous, High-Powered Magnet Sets

Release Date: August 27, 2012

CPSC estimates 1,700 ER-treated magnet ingestion cases between 2009 and 2011. Proposed rule aims to address serious safety risks.


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted 4 to 0 to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at developing a new federal standard for small, high-powered magnet sets.

CPSC staff estimates that small, high powered magnet sets were associated with 1,700 emergency room-treated injuries between 2009 and 2011. The majority of injuries (70 percent) have been to children 4 to 12 years of age.

Many of these magnet sets are marketed as sculptures, puzzles, and stress relievers and are labeled not for use by children. However, CPSC staff believes these magnet sets have strong appeal to children and pose a potential for high-severity injuries.

If swallowed, these magnets can link together inside a child's intestines and clamp onto body tissues, causing intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis and death. Internal damage from magnets can pose serious lifelong health effects.

The proposed mandatory standard would set performance requirements for magnet sets based on their size and strength. Magnet sets that do not meet the performance requirement could not be sold as a manipulative or a desk toy.

The proposed rule has a 75 day public comment period.

See more about magnet dangers at CPSC's magnets information center at

Statements from the Commissioners

- Statement from Commissioner Nancy Nord

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