CPSC Begins Process to Develop New Federal Standard for Dangerous High-Powered Magnet Sets

By Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari on September 26, 2012

An increasing number of incident reports to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) concerning child injuries and other hazards created by small, high-powered magnet sets have prompted the CPSC to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking towards developing a new federal standard for such magnets.

According to the CPSC, small, high-powered magnet sets pose a serious safety risk to children, from toddlers to teenagers. The risks differ slightly for the varied age groups, but generally, children can swallow these magnets, which can cause severe injuries. If multiple magnets are ingested, they can attract each other within the body, resulting in the pinching of internal tissue, small holes in the intestines and stomach, blood poisoning, intestinal blockage, and even death.

Since 2009, reports of injury incidents involving these magnets have increased. In 2009, the CPSC had received just one incident report; in 2010, it increased to seven; and in 2011, through October of that year, there were 14 incidents. The children involved were between 18 months and 15-years-old. Seventeen of the total 22 incidents between 2009 and 2011 involved ingestion of magnets and 11 of these required surgery in order to remove them. Though many of these magnets are marketed as desk toys, puzzles, and stress relievers for adults, and are not intended to be used by children, they still have a strong appeal to children, and therefore must be regulated.

The proposed mandatory federal standard would establish performance requirements for magnet sets as determined by their strength and size. If they do not meet the requirements, they may not be sold as a manipulative toy.

If you or your child has been injured by a dangerous product, you may be entitled to pursue legal action against the product manufacturer. To determine whether you may have a valid product liability claim, contact the experienced New Jersey product liability lawyers at Blume Forte for a no-cost consultation at (973) 635-5400.

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