Health Dangers of Small Powerful Magnets

Recalls, Warnings and Advisories

Author: Health Canada
Published: 2013/05/24 - Updated: 2023/10/02
Publication Type: Announcement / Notification - Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Contents: Summary - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: Recall of novelty magnet sets marketed to adults that contain small powerful magnets which can be easily swallowed or inhaled by children. Rare earth element magnets are many times more powerful than traditional magnets and pose unique dangers. In Canada, the United States and other countries, there have been a number of cases of children requiring emergency surgical treatment to remove swallowed magnets from their intestines.

Introduction

Health Canada has published a recall related to a number of novelty magnet sets marketed to adults that contain small, powerful magnets which can be easily swallowed or inhaled by children. The department also issued an advisory to warn Canadians about the dangers of these and other magnets.

Main Digest

"Canadians expect that products they find on store shelves will be safe," said the Honorable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "It's clear that some products containing small, powerful magnets pose a danger to children so we are taking action to have them removed from the marketplace."

In Canada, the United States and other countries, there have been a number of cases of children requiring emergency surgical treatment to remove swallowed magnets from their intestines. When more than one powerful magnet is swallowed in a short period of time, the magnets can attract one another while moving through the intestines. This can cause the intestines to twist, creating blockages or tearing of the intestinal walls which can be very serious and life-threatening. For survivors, there can be serious lifelong health problems.

Health Canada is particularly concerned about novelty magnet sets containing more than one small, powerful magnet, regardless of the intended age of the user. These sets are usually intended for use as a toy or manipulative for general entertainment, such as puzzle working, sculpture building, mental stimulation or stress relief. These sets generally consist of a number of rare earth element magnetic pieces in spherical, cube and/or cuboid shapes. Rare earth element magnets are many times more powerful than traditional magnets and pose unique dangers.

Departmental officials have gathered information on novelty magnet sets from a range of sources, including hospital data, incident reports and scientific literature. This information supported a risk assessment that was completed recently, and informed the Department's actions on these products.

Health Canada will continue to take action to have dangerous products removed from the marketplace. The Department continues to remind Canadians to keep products with small, powerful magnets out of the reach of children of any age and to follow these safety tips:

Attribution/Source(s):

This peer reviewed publication was selected for publishing by the editors of Disabled World due to its significant relevance to the disability community. Originally authored by Health Canada, and published on 2013/05/24 (Edit Update: 2023/10/02), the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity. For further details or clarifications, Health Canada can be contacted at canada.ca/en/health-canada.html. NOTE: Disabled World does not provide any warranties or endorsements related to this article.

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Cite This Page (APA): Health Canada. (2013, May 24 - Last revised: 2023, October 2). Health Dangers of Small Powerful Magnets. Disabled World. Retrieved July 16, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/medical/recalls/magnets.php

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