The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that could result in a new federal standard for small, high-powered magnet sets.
High-powered magnet sets are often marketed as sculptures, puzzles or stress relievers, and CPSC-required labeling makes clear that these magnet sets are not for use by children. However, when swallowed by a child, the magnets can link together inside of a child’s intestines, leading to intestinal obstruction, perforations, sepsis and even death. Data collected by the CPSC indicates that small, high-power magnets were associated with 1700 emergency room visits between 2009 and 2011, with 70 percent of the emergencies involving children 4 to 12 years of age.
According to the CPSC, the proposed mandatory federal standard would set performance requirements for magnet sets based on their size and strength, and would restrict the sale of magnet sets that do not meet the established performance requirements.