Background

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has voted to approve a new mandatory federal safety standard that requires loose or separable magnets in certain magnet products to be either too large to swallow or weak enough to reduce the risk of internal injuries when swallowed.

The new rule applies to consumer products that (1) are designed, marketed, or intended to be used for entertainment, jewelry (including children’s jewelry), mental stimulation, stress relief, or a combination of these purposes and (2) contain one or more loose or separable magnets. It does not apply to products sold and/or distributed solely to school educators, researchers, professionals, and/or commercial or industrial users exclusively for educational, research, professional, commercial, and/or industrial purposes. The new rule also does not apply to toys for children under 14 years old because the CPSC’s mandatory toy standard already covers such products.

The CPSC has said that magnets in subject magnet products typically are small, powerful magnetic balls, cubes, cylinders, or other shapes that can be used to create jewelry (such as necklaces, bracelets, and simulated piercings) and can be aggregated to make sculptures, for use as desk toys, and as other building sets. They commonly include magnets between three and six millimeters in size and consist of several hundred magnets. The magnets themselves have a variety of compositions, such as alloys of neodymium, iron, and boron; ferrite/hematite; aluminum, nickel, and cobalt; and samarium and cobalt.

For more information on compliance with product safety standards, please contact Beth Ring at (212) 549-0133 or Ned Steiner at (202) 730-4970.

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