The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has approved a new federal safety standard to help reduce human injuries and deaths from swallowed magnets.
Published in the Federal Register in late September, 16 CRF 1262, Safety Standard for Magnets, will now require loose or separable magnets in certain products to be either too large to swallow, or weak enough to reduce the risk of internal injuries when swallowed. The CPSC standard applies to consumer products designed, marketed, or intended for a variety of uses that contain one or more loose or separable magnets. Products exempt from the standard include those distributed solely to school educators, researchers, and/or commercial and industrial users for educational, research, professional, commercial, and/or industrial purposes. The standard also does not apply to toys for children under 14 years of age, since a separate CPSC standard already covers those products.
The mandatory standard comes into effect as of October 21, 2022, and will apply to all products manufactured after that date that fall within its scope.
The CPSC says that the products subject to the standard present an unreasonable risk of injury, and that less stringent measures, such as safety messaging, have not been sufficiently effective in helping consumers avoid the potential safety hazards associated with their use. As evidence of the need for a more restrictive standard, the CPSC estimates nearly 27,000 cases of magnet ingestions were treated in hospital emergency rooms from 2010 through 2021, resulting in at least seven deaths.