magnet1Almost two years ago, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) determined that there may be an unreasonable risk of injury associated with children ingesting high-powered magnets that are part of magnet sets. This was after a voluntary standard removed the dangerous magnets from toys.  Fast forward two years and federal regulators concur that a child died last year and at least 2,900 children have visited emergency rooms after swallowing these tiny magnets.

Today, the CPSC listened to a staff briefing on a possible ban on tiny, high-powered magnets sold in sets. The proposed rule would ban the magnet sets made popular by Buckyballs and Magnicubes, which were recalled in July. The full commission is expected to vote on the rule later this month.

Under the proposed rule, magnets would be allowed only if:

  • They were large enough to not fit through a cylinder used to test choking hazards
  • If a magnet set contains a magnet that fits within the CPSC’s small parts cylinder, magnets from that set would be required to have a flux index of 50 or less.

Once the Commission votes, the rule will again be open for public comment.