Victory: Ban on Dangerous Magnets Approved

By David Butler on Friday, September 26th, 2014

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has approved a new rule endorsed by Consumers Union to ban dangerous magnets that have sent thousands of kids to the emergency room.

CPSC commissioners voted on September 24 for a tough, new standard that will make these magnets safer, and it will prevent the sale of unsafe magnets that CU and other groups have been pushing to remove from the marketplace.

The CPSC voted 4-0 in favor of the rule, with one commissioner abstaining. Thousands of CU activists wrote the members of the commission, asking them to vote “yes.”

This is a real victory for children’s safety. These are not the usual, run-of-the-mill refrigerator magnets. They are tiny, super-strong magnets used in desk toys such as Buckyballs and Magnicubes. They can pose a deadly threat to children when swallowed or inhaled. The magnets look like candy, and when ingested, they are so powerful they can tear holes in the child’s stomach or intestine.

USA Today and the New York Times recently reported on the death of a 19-month-old girl whose autopsy showed magnets in her small intestine. Reports said the magnets had become attached, cutting off the blood supply to the girl’s stomach and killing her.

For years, manufacturers resisted efforts by the CPSC to get these products off the shelves. Some magnets were recalled, but others remained on sale.

This CPSC rule caps a long battle fought by the commission, pediatricians and consumer advocates. Under this rule, these magnets are prohibited, unless they are large enough to not fit through a cylinder tube used to test choking hazards, or if they only have a small fraction of the strength found in the recalled products.

We applaud the CPSC for this vote, and we thank all of you who sent personal messages to the commissioners to urge them to vote “yes.”

26 responses to “Victory: Ban on Dangerous Magnets Approved”

  1. PLEASE READ THIS AND LEARN.
    http://www.salon.com/2014/04/12/your_cellphone_is_killing_you_what_people_dont_want_you_to_know_about_electromagnetic_fields/

    Even STEVE JOBS, creator of Apple products and phones, did not allow his children to use iPads, etc because HE KNEW THE DANGERS TO HUMANS. Please pick a link, any link, and then please rethink what you know about “harm to children.” If you DO truly care about them … get this technology away from them. It was created to monitor, brainwash, and control the public; TV on steroids. You have NO idea how much EMF harm you are exposing yourself to with Smart Meters on your home alone. smh … bucky balls. It amazes me that people hold a tracking device right in their hands that emits at least two invisible frequencies that are PROVEN to harm humans. READ YOUR PHONE CONTRACT. It actually says to operate your phone at least 12″ from your head (still not safe.) Now i ask you: HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO TRANSPORT YOUR PHONE 12″ from your body?! Yeah … EMF harm is responsible for almost every central nervous system disease that has gotten “big” since cell phones. Do some research, please, before you start screaming about “irresponsible parents.”

    https://www.google.com/search?q=steve+jobs+limit+tech+to+children&rlz=1C1KMZB_enUS588US588&oq=sTEVE+JOBs+limit+tech+to+children&aqs=chrome.0.69i59.3435j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

  2. THE LARGER PICTURE:
    Supermagnets are used in a lot of new technology, especially military weapons. The truth of the matter is that anyone with a collection of supermagnets could, potentially affect, disarm, or negate these technologies. These supermagnets could also PROTECT people from the effects of Direct Energy weapons, thus disallowing the military from targeting individuals that they want to harm and kill. So there is a very definite reason for using this “toy” recall as a premise to prevent the general population from 1) interfering with these new tech devices used for military surveillance and control, and 2) protecting themselves from magnetic weapons. It makes me very sad to see people fighting over this ^ bullshit, when those “toys” were probably allowed to be purchased SPECIFICALLY TO TEST AN UNWITTING PUBLIC. So they know how magnetism affects “kids,” now. If parents are so enraged about magnetism and the affects of invisible forces, one would think they would spend MORE TIME realizing that CELL PHONES, COMPUTERS, TVs, PADS, etc .. all expose their children to FAR MORE ‘invisible” EMF and EMR than a fucking bucky ball. But the general population, it seems, would rather express outrage about kids EATING magnets that keeping them directly on their ears or at their fingertips. #WakeUp

  3. BuCkYbA11 FaN says:

    I agree. The CPSC went to complete overkill by banning ALL small magnets and CU shouldn’t have sided with the CPSC on this matter and we should be able to use these. Not ban them because of just PLAIN STUPIDITY by parents that OBVIOUSLY DONT CARE ABOUT THEIR CHILDS SAFETY.

  4. Will says:

    “They pose a unique danger”. Solution: keep them away from your kids.
    “They are extremely strong.” Solution: keep them away from your kids.

    There are a lot of things that are dangerous. There are a lot of things a kid could swallow and choke on. Indeed, these are not a choking hazard, rather they will damage intestines… yes, we get it. The problem with this is that there are plenty of things that are dangerous. ATVs, for example. According to the CPSC’s own data, they results in 327 deaths and over 100,000 ER visits. And yet, here we are.

    A kid can die by pitching face-first into a 5-gallon bucket with water in it, if left unattended. We still have buckets. We just label them.

    The problem with this ban is that these magnets have value. You can learns a manner of cool things with powerful magnets. You can created coded magnets, locked magnets, sculptures, etc… they are an interesting learning tool.

    The ban is really about stupidity. People who buy them, fail to appreciate what they can do, and what harm they can do, and are careless, and the kids suffer. So, a small number of very stupid people ruin it for everyone else.

    This is not about a product that is inherently dangerous or designed poorly, it is simply about stupid people ruining it for others. I taught my kid to care for and respect the magnets, and she still has all of her insides.

    The CPSC should protect us from things that are of poor design or inherently dangerous, not from our own carelessness.

  5. Thomas says:

    Before saying how awful this law is, please look at what it really is. Lack of knowledge creates fear and irrational behavior. We have this thing called the internet in which lots of information can be found. Bing.com found this for me in 5 seconds. I suspect that Google would have worked too…

    http://www.cpsc.gov/en/Newsroom/News-Releases/2014/CPSC-Approves-Strong-Federal-Safety-Standard-for-High-Powered-Magnet-Sets-to-Protect-Children-and-Teenagers/

  6. Jw says:

    Some people don’t seem to understand the unique danger that strong magnets represent. I work with neodymium magnets. Even as an adult, one must be careful, or you are in for a painful snap. Compound this with ingestion by an infant (not a 10 year old or young adolescent) who sees a fun, perhaps delicious toy, and you have a dangerous combination. Hazardous choking items are routinely eliminated from the market place. I support the Consumer Reports action on this.

    • Joseph Jensen says:

      I have many powerful neodynium magnets. Bucky balls, one of the magnetic toys affectes by the ban, are not powerful enough to give you a painful snap. I agree that they are deadly when eaten and children should not eat them. I have many N52 magnets and the only ones im even remotely worried about receiving a painful snap from are far too large for a child to swallow.

      • Brandon says:

        Ha! You’re afraid of children swallowing small magnets, but you aren’t worried about them getting their hands crushed by the bigger magnets?

        I’m sorry, but what kind of irresponsible person are you? According to your logic, we should ban the more powerful magnets you claim aren’t dangerous for children!

    • Brandon says:

      You work with magnets?!?! HA! What a joke of a despicable human being you are!

      As a person who works with magnets, I’m assuming you put your own well being at risk when handling dangerous magnets. Yet, you want to ban this set of magnets because they might be hazardous to children?

      I’m sorry, but why do I have to suffer for other irresponsible parents? More importantly, why do millions of people have to suffer when less than 10 or 20 people get hurt by the product due to NEGLIGENCE?! Why can’t we hold, I dunno, parents responsible for their actions?

      And you even talked about how teens might swallow these magnets. Newsflash, numbnuts, these are TEENAGERS! They’re capable of understanding warning labels! Yes, teenagers do stupid things – but guess what, the number of teens stupid enough to swallow these magnets is close to zero!

      You support this ban? I take it very personally since you’re trying to personally remove these magnets from me because you PERSONALLY BELIEVE I, BRANDON, CAN NOT BE TRUSTED WITH THESE MAGNETS.

      There’s a lovely orifice of yours I’d like to store my boot in.

  7. Some Body says:

    So Neal Van Gelderen, in that case I’m going to assume that you’re also for banning all cars. Using your same nanny state logic, that would stop all drunk drivers from ever killing anyone, which would save over 10,000 lives each year in the US alone, much more than were ever harmed with one of these little magnets. People need to stand up and take responsibility for their actions. We cannot save everyone by banning anything that ever hurts a handful of people because they used it improperly. Accidents happen too, but this what they are. You do not throw out all the babies with the bath water!

    • Thomas says:

      Phrases like “nanny state” show where you’re getting your cues on what to be outraged about. Those sources are ill informed and often intentionally mislead.

      One of the roles of the government is to protect citizens from harm. Label it with divisive phrases as you may, this protection is a good thing. Corporations certainly aren’t going to protect us, as their sole function is profit. How would you feel if these magnets were all made in China? I suspect that you would feel differently, but you shouldn’t.

      Here’s the real gist of the rule, directly from the CPSC site:

      “Under the new CPSC performance standard, an individual magnet from a magnet set either must be large enough that the magnet does not fit into a CPSC small parts cylinder or the power of the magnetic force must be lower than a specified measure. Certain hazardous magnet sets that were previously in the marketplace had a magnetic force that was 37 times greater than what the new performance standard permits.”

      • Brandon says:

        I’m a grown ass man mother fucker! I don’t swallow magnets and I expect we hold – I dunno – THE PARENTS responsible when their children swallow magnets!

        It’s also funny you talk about how people who refer to the “nanny state” are misinformed. The funny thing is, this whole magnet ban is based off of misinformation!

        I thought we lived in America, land of the free. Not some Orwellian universe you tyrannical tit. Did you know Kinder Eggs are outlawed in the U.S.? Good thing too because in Europe we see SOOOOOOOOO many children choking on the toys inside. Oh wait, they’re not fucking prats like you!

  8. Neal Van Gelderen says:

    The negative responses above were very short sited. I agree that any product that would harm a child should be banned, but only if it would or can harm a child. An adult toy with these magnets should also fall under this ban.There are a lot of adults out there that doesn’t have any more sense than a flea and would leave a dangerous adult toy where a child could get it. These toys can’t be monitored 24/7 so an unthinking childless adult wouldn’t think or realize how dangerous these items are. Playing with lawn darts and purchasing these items in spite of, just to prove a point, is very childish and immature.

    • Joseph Jensen says:

      So Neal Van Gelderton, we should ban everything that can harm a child? How about we just ban you from them. Be prepared to sit in a padded room with nothing in it but you and your child. Oh and its going to be a dirty padded room, because cleaning supplies can and do harm children. And be prepared to walk everywhere because cars CAN and DO harm children. I mean, i could write thousands of things that we use everyday that CAN and DO harm children. Your comment is exceedingly foolish and is now void. Good day sir.

  9. Jim McGill says:

    I am disappointed that you took up this foolish cause. At some point parents need to step up and assume responsibility for their children. Should we ban knitting needles, lighters, pieces of rope?No we need to use them wisely. I purchased a set of these magnets years ago and really enjoy them. What we really need to be wary of is the tendency to make everything idiot proof. All that we will end up with is a nation of wimps.

  10. Johnny Mac says:

    Way overboard with nanny-state due to inattentive or stupid parents. There are hundreds of other objects that a child might ingest with equal results. Please focus on issues that aren’t related to sensationalism.

  11. Gerard Mazza says:

    Ther are many products that are dangerous to children and adults alike, but we cannot and should not ban these as they are useful and needed in our lives. Automobiles come to mind as one. These small magnets are not just toys. They are used in many applications and in home projects. The majority should not suffer due to the stupidity of the few. Parents need to take responsibility in keeping dangerous items away from children, or we will be banning bug spray, medications, knives, gas grills, and the list goes on.

  12. Mr. Laceymike says:

    This is waaaay overkill. The house and world is simply full of things that can injure or kill a child. The magnets should be kept out of the reach of the kids…just like Mom’s jewelry, mouse traps, toilets, and so very much more. Just keep the offending magnets up. This sounds like material for criminal action against the parents. Is that too harsh?

    • Thomas says:

      That sounds easy. Have you ever been around children? They find a way to put everything in their mouth.

      • joe says:

        Thomas, your ignorant comments were driving me nuts so i had to respond. Children will always find a way to get these in their mouths? Are you telling me good parents dont own one thing that could harm a child? Of course not. If you can keep cleaning supplies out of their mouths, good parents can keep magnets out of their mouths. Ive never known a small child that could break into a locked room and sniff out a small magnet hidden behind everything on the top shelf of the closet in said locked room. If the small magnets are somewhere easy to see and access, yeah, they could very possibly end up in their mouths. Children put things that they happen to come across in their mouths. They do not think, “i know theres small magnets in this house and i am going to break into locked rooms and ransack the house so that i can eat them. If you have small children, when youre not playing with the magnets, put them in the same places you put other dangerous objects and substances in your house. Im pretty sure they would be fine locked up in the gun safe or locked up with the cleaning supplies. Dumb people with children shouldnt own them, but people of normal intelligence or higher should be able to own these items. Oh and, nobody ever said babies ate them cause theyre stupid. That comment was clearly aimed at the owners of the magnets that allowed access of the magnets to small children that dont know any better.

  13. BC Sharp says:

    I really wish this action was tempered with a little more common sense.

    The tiny “super strong” magnets are incredibly useful in a variety of applications ranging from electric toothbrushes (that Consumer Reports rates very well) to small loudspeakers used in computers and other devices- and many of the companies that use them have great testing and superb safety records for their products.

    Banning them for any use if they don’t meet a certain size limit or “strength” seems absolutely ridiculous. Many of the products where they are used have the magnet completely buried inside a mechanism that would take a strong adult and special tools to “get to”- so why go for a complete ban?

    Many devices also have a number of toxic materials in them that would also harm a child- should we ban all these in an indiscriminate fashion?

    I often participate in Consumer Union’s action, and agree with most in principle- but this one went WAY too far over the line for me.

  14. Some Body says:

    Why must everyone suffer for the stupidity of a few? I don’t believe in this ban (nor many other things that CU now supports) I grew up playing with lawn darts, we were not stupid and were just fine, I went out and purchased some of these magnets just on principle now before they are unavailable. They are a cool neat item if used properly. Why take away from me and others something that a few cannot use the right way. Stick to rating things and let me the consumer decide what is important to me.

    I miss the years of your old full ratings on every area too. Not weighted and limited to what you deem important to decide your rankings, but based on their weighting of certain features, I may prefer performance over fancy lights and dials that your testers like more. You are contributing to the “nanny state” that is part of the problem now in this country. Let products stand on their own in the market and let the consumer vote with their wallets, not you ban them with legislation because a few cannot use some item properly yet it has other good uses by the masses.

    I also wish you would leave open comments to the “click here to support this cause” emails your are always sending out. In many cases, I take an opposite view than CU is supporting, but you do not allow me to send an email easily to congress/reps/agencies/etc easily to support anything that is counter to what CU is advocating or even reply to CU that I do not support what you are spouting!

    • Thomas says:

      You should think twice before posting such despicable comments. A child died and you blame their stupidity. You think that Consumers Union shouldn’t help do things for the consumer!? That they should get back do doing what they used to do? Well this is what they have always done. It would take days to show what they have done in their history, but here’s a quick taste…

      http://notinmyfood.org/posts/2844-a-trifecta-of-victories-for-california-consumers

      Good Day.

      • Some Body Else says:

        Yes, because THAT is what he said: the *child* is stupid…

        Take your subjective, emotional analysis and apply it elsewhere, please. If you want to respond, utilize objective logic.

        Thanks in advance.

        Nothing can be 100% childproof, and nor can we secure a 0% child mortality rate. This is why as parents, we make choices in our lives every day; leave the child alone momentarily, or don’t leave the child alone momentarily. Regardless of the reasons behind our choices, all have consequences and entail risk.

        Not all people understand inherent risks behind things like small magnets, which is understandable–I wouldn’t expect everyone to foresee such possibilities. As a parent, however, I take special care in considering objects lying around the house. I have even read a warning label or two in my time to assess safety–though I admit I skip this step often enough.

        Bottom line? Banning every small object that has killed a child or two isn’t a realistic or even intelligent solution. Protocols, perhaps involving more than simple warning labels, may be much more realistic.

        • BuCkYbA11 FaN says:

          I agree. The CPSC went to complete overkill by banning ALL small magnets and CU shouldn’t have sided with the CPSC on this matter and we should be able to use these. Not ban them because of just PLAIN STUPIDITY by parents that OBVIOUSLY DONT CARE ABOUT THEIR CHILDS SAFETY.

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