27 Oct 2017
New Safety Standard for High-Powered Magnet Sets under Consideration
The CPSC is seeking written comments through 5 December on a petition requesting that the Commission initiate a rulemaking to adopt a safety standard for high-powered magnet sets. The petitioner describes the product as small rare earth magnets of various shapes, sizes and flux indices (i.e., magnetic strength) that are commonly sold as sets designed to make sculptures, provide therapeutic benefits, or serve as educational or research tools.
According to the petitioner, there are magnet sets on the market that are approximately five millimetres in diameter and have flux indexes greater than 50 KG2mm2. The petitioner asserts that these magnet sets are not designed, marketed, manufactured or intended for use by children under the age of 14 years, thereby posing a risk of injury if misused in a way that results in ingesting, aspirating or otherwise inserting more than one magnet into the body.
To address these risks, the petitioner is requesting that the CPSC promulgate a mandatory safety standard that includes specified performance standards, packaging standards, requirements for warnings and instructions for proper use, and an age recommendation of 14 years or older, as summarised below. Earlier this year the CPSC removed its previous standard for high-powered magnet sets from its regulations pursuant to an appeals court decision vacating that standard.
- Performance Standards
Require individual magnets and each magnet in a magnet set that fits entirely within the cylinder described in 16 CFR 1501.4 (small parts cylinder) to have a flux index of 50 kG2mm2 or less if the product is designed, marketed or manufactured for children under the age of 14 years. Establish standards for magnet set packaging, such as requiring packaging to be difficult for children to open, and assist users in determining whether all magnets are returned to the package after use. According to the petitioner, these requirements would limit the magnetic strength of magnets so that they would not attach across internal tissue if ingested and would also assist users in limiting children’s access to the magnets.
- Warning Requirements
Require magnet sets to bear warnings that conform to specific form requirements, warn of the ingestion hazard and indicate the product is not intended for children. Require warnings on product packaging, including in a location that requires a user to see the warning when opening the package.
- Instructional Requirements
Require magnet sets to include instructions that indicate how to avoid using the magnet set in a way that can lead to ingesting, aspirating or inserting the magnets into the body and how to return magnets to the packaging.
- Age Restrictions
Require warnings and instructions for magnet sets to include an age recommendation of 14 years or older.