Based on available data, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (the Commission, the CPSC, or we) has determined preliminarily that there may be an unreasonable risk of injury associated with children ingesting high-powered magnets that are part of magnet sets. These magnet sets are aggregations of separable, permanent, magnetic objects intended or marketed by the manufacturer primarily as a manipulative or construction desk toy for general entertainment, such as puzzle working, sculpture building, mental stimulation, or stress relief. In contrast to ingesting other small parts, when a child ingests a magnet, the magnetic properties of the object can cause serious, life-threatening injuries. When children ingest two or more of the magnets, the magnetic forces pull the magnets together, and the magnets pinch or trap the intestinal walls or other digestive tissue between them, resulting in acute and long-term health consequences. Although magnet sets have only been available since 2008, we have determined that an estimated 1,700 ingestions of magnets from magnet sets were treated in emergency departments between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2011. To address the unreasonable risks of serious injury associated with these magnet sets, the Commission is issuing this notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR), which would prohibit such magnet sets. Under the proposal, if a magnet set contains a magnet that fits within the CPSC's small parts cylinder, magnets from that set would be required to have a flux index of 50 or less, or they would be prohibited. The flux index would be determined by the method described in ASTM F963-11, Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety. The Commission solicits written comments concerning the risks of injury associated with these magnet sets, the regulatory alternatives discussed in this NPR, other possible ways to address these risks, and the economic impacts of the various regulatory alternatives. This proposed rule is issued under the authority of the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA).
Agency Contact: Jonathan D. Midgett, Ph.D., Project Manager, Office of Hazard Identification and Reduction, Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814- 4408; telephone: (301) 504-7692, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a proposed regulation. Comments were due on November 19, 2012.