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CPSC Starts Developing a New Federal Standard for Small, High-Powered Magnet Sets

On August 27, 2012, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking for the development of a new federal standard for small, high-powered magnet sets.

PRLog - Sep. 14, 2012 - The proposed mandatory standard would set safety and performance requirements for magnet sets based on their size and strength. Magnet sets that fail to meet the performance requirement could not be sold as a construction desk toy for general entertainment. The proposed rule would define magnet sets as: "any aggregation of separable, permanent magnetic objects that is a consumer product intended or marketed by the manufacturer primarily as a manipulative or construction desk toy for general entertainment, such as puzzle, working sculpture, mental stimulation, or stress relief."

Those magnet sets (http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia12/brief/magnetstd.pdf) have strong appeal to children and pose a potential risk for serious injuries. The CPSC reported 1,700 magnet ingestions from magnet sets were treated in emergency rooms between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011 and approximately 1,200 of those incidents involved children in the 4-12 age group. Once ingested, high-powered magnetic pieces can link together inside a child's intestines and clamp onto the body tissues, causing intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis and death.

Although in many cases magnet sets are labeled “Not for use by children”, the warnings do not work for this relatively new product because warnings may not be communicated effectively or are often ignored by the consumer.

The Chronology of High-Powered Magnets
Following is a chronological background of developments related to hazardous, high-powered magnets.
•   In 2008, a new type of magnet product came onto the market as adult desk toys for general amusement.
•   In December 2009, CPSC received a consumer complaint that the magnet sets intended for adults posed hazards similar to magnets in toys.
•   In February 2010, CPSC staff received its first incident report involving this product. No injury resulted from this incident.
•   In December 2010, the first consumer incident reported the surgical removal of magnets that were part of a magnet set intended for adults.
•   During 2011, Compliance activity included evaluation of the marketing and labeling of the product category, collecting product marketed to children under 13 and evaluating compliance with ASTM F963.
•   In response to continuing injuries associated with the products and children of various ages, CPSC published a public service announcement (PSA) in November 2011, concerning the hazard in cooperation with two manufacturers.
•   Reported incidents involving children continued to increase unabated from 8 cases in 2010, 17 cases in 2011, and 25 cases in 2012 (as of July 8, 2012) as reported by CPSC.

About SGS Juvenile Product Solutions
Throughout the global network, SGS offers consultation and comprehensive testing services covering the full spectrum of international product safety and regulatory standards for a wide range of juvenile products.

SGS has published several news bulletins (http://newsletter.sgs.com/eNewsletterPro/uploadedimages/0...) on the issue of magnetic parts in toys and other children’s products due to the safety implications. We will continue to monitor the issue and inform interested parties about regulations and standards on hazards related to magnetic sets.
Please feel free to contact one of SGS’ toys labs should you require further information.

Contact details:

SGS Consumer Testing Services
Ali Karimi
Technical Manager, Toys - Hardgoods
291 Fairfield AVE
Fairfield, New Jersey 07004

t: + 973-461-7928
Email: cts.media@sgs.com  
Website: http://www.sgs.com/pages/consumer-testing/sgs-consumer-go...

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With 70,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.

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