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CPSC Bans High-Powered Magnet Sets

Sep 26, 2014

After years of urging by consumer advocates, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued new rules that ban small high-powered magnet sets blamed for numerous children’s injuries and the death of a toddler.

The CPSC says that between 2009 and 2013, nearly 3,000 children ended up in an emergency room after swallowing magnets. If more than one magnet is swallowed, the magnets can draw together with great force, trapping or pinching the intestines. Some children have suffered injuries that require surgery, CBS Moneywatch reports.

The magnet sets are hazardous to young children, who put small objects in their mouths, and to older children and teens, “who have used them to create mock lip, tongue, and nose piercings," according to the CPSC. Under the new standard, an individual magnet from a magnet set must either be too large to fit into a CPSC small parts cylinder or the power of the magnetic force must be lower than a specified measure. Some magnet sets previously on the market have a magnetic force 37 times greater than what the new standards permit. When the rules take effect sometime next year, it will be illegal to manufacture, import or sell the older-style magnet sets.

A coalition of consumer and health groups, including the Consumer Federation of America and Kids In Danger, issued a statement supporting the new rules, CBS Moneywatch reports. "We applaud the CPSC for issuing this important mandatory rule,” said Rachel Weintraub, the federation's legislative director and senior counsel.

Consumers can visit the CPSC’s Magnet Safety Information Center at for more information.

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