Senator Urges Ban Of Toy Magnets

If Swallowed, Could Cause Death

Senator Urges Ban Of Toy MagnetsArguing they put the health of children at risk, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is calling on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to ban the sale of powerful Neodymium magnets. While the magnets are not marketed to kids, Gillibrand says they're often used as toys and can be easily swallowed, resulting in intestinal damage, blood poisoning and even death.

"These dangerous magnets are increasingly ending up in the hands and mouths of children, putting their lives at grave risk," Gillibrand wrote in a letter to the CPSC. "Every parent wants to keep their child safe, and this unsuspecting product has already caused too much harm. We should stop these dangerous toys from reaching any more homes and stores."

Although their distribution varies, Neodymium magnets are usually five-millimeter spheres and tend to be sold in packages of 100 or more. According to Gillibrand's office, 43 cases of children swallowing the magnets have been reported since 2010 – half of which required surgery. Earlier this year, an Oregon toddler accidentally swallowed 37 toy magnets. Back in 2005, a 20-month-old boy died after he swallowed nine magnets.

To help alert the public of the potential dangers of the items, the CPSC has attached warning labels on the packages of the magnets. In May 2010, the CPSC also announced a voluntary recall of Buckeyballs High-Powered Magnet Sets, saying they did not meet required standards for toys. The maker of Buckeyballs now puts warning labels both inside and outside the boxes, stressing that the product is for children 13 and older.

"Current warnings on the packaging are not reducing the number of incidences of accidental ingestion, and in fact, cases are on the rise," Gillibrand wrote. "Despite the warnings required on packaging, these magnets are getting into the hands of children."