FDA Warns of Potential Effects of Magnets in Cell Phones and Smartwatches

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers with embedded pacemakers and other implanted medical devices to take precautions when using consumer electronics with integrated magnets.

In an updated advisory posted to its website in mid-May, the FDA quotes recent studies that have shown the consumer electronics with high field strength magnets, such as some cell phone and smartwatch models, may cause certain implantable medical devices to accidentally switch into “magnet mode.” Magnet mode is a medical device safety feature that is typically activated during certain medical procedures and temporarily suspends normal device operations.

The FDA advises consumers with implantable medical devices to keep all consumer electronics at least six inches away from the implantable device. The agency also recommends that consumers not carry their electronic devices in a pocket over the medical device, and to use their home monitoring system (if available) to check the operational status of their medical device.

Read the FDA advisory regarding potential risks associated with magnets in cell phones and smartwatches.

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