Small, high-powered magnets are regularly used in toys and games. These small magnets seem harmless enough, but they can do significant damage to a child if they are swallowed. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 3,000 children required emergency medical attention between the years 2009 and 2013 after swallowing magnets. When multiple magnets are swallowed, they can draw together with great force pinching and piercing parts of the gastrointestinal system.
To prevent these types of incidents from happening, consumer advocates have lobbied for the removal of high-powered magnets. After years of pleas from parents and advocates, the CPSC has finally taken action. According to a CBS News report, the new rules will make it illegal to manufacture, import or sell high-powered magnets that can cause internal injuries when swallowed. Some of the magnets currently being sold are 37 times more powerful than the ones that will be allowed once the law goes into effect. The new magnets will also have to be larger than a special small parts cylinder.
This issue came to light in recent years when Buckyballs were recalled. Buckyballs and Buckycubes are composed of numerous, little, high-powered magnets. These magnets were 5 millimeters in diameter or smaller, making them easy to swallow. About 2.5 million sets of Buckyballs and Buckycubes were sold since 2009, so there was ample opportunity for children across the country to swallow these small magnets and suffer injury.
This new federal rule should prevent products like Buckyballs from being sold in the future. In the meantime, more can be done to raise awareness of the dangers of small magnets. There are many families across the country who still own and use Buckyballs that are not aware there has been a recall.
It will take a while for the new rule to take effect and for companies to comply. In the meantime, if your child is injured after swallowing small, high-powered magnets, it may be in your best interest to research your legal options. Please contact an experienced Atlanta products liability attorney to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.