Here's what you should know about high-powered magnets after large recall

Aug. 20, 2021
By Hannah Rhodes

On Aug. 17, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled about 10 million units of high-powered magnets sold by Zen Magnets LLC. Customers who have purchased Zen Magnets and Neoball Magnets, whether  individually or in sets, are advised to immediately stop using these magnets and contact Zen Magnets LLC. To contact Zen Magnets for a refund, call at 1-844-936-6245 or email at contact@zenmagnets.com

What are high-powered magnets? 

High-powered magnets, also commonly known as “rare earth” magnets, have a stronger magnetic force than ordinary magnets. They can be found in a range of products — desk toys, common household appliances — and sold separately as individual magnets or sets. 

What is the risk? 

When high-powered magnets are ingested, they can lodge on to parts of the digestive tract and potentially cause holes. There is a risk emergency surgery might be needed if a high-powered magnet is swallowed. There have been children who’ve died because of magnet ingestion. 

At the time of the recall on Aug. 17, the CPSC reported that two children had to have emergency surgery after swallowing Zen Magnets. One of these children spent six days in the hospital recovering after ingesting multiple magnets in May of 2020. 

Best safety practices for high-power magnets:

  • Never allow children to play with high-powered magnets: Magnets can look like toys or candy to small children. If there are children under the age of 18 in the home, it is best to keep all high-powered magnets locked up and out of reach. 

  • Talk with other adults in the home: If other adults in the home have access to high-powered magnets, inform them of the dangers associated with these magnets. It is important to not leave magnets around small children.

  • Warn teenagers about the dangers of high-powered magnets: A common trend with teenagers and young adults is to use high-powered magnets to mimic a body piercing. Inform older children and young adults about the dangers of accidentally swallowing a high-powered magnet. These magnets should not be near or around the face. 

  • Keep an eye out: Magnets can be found in many household items. Be vigilant that magnetic parts have not fallen off and are loose around the home. 

  • Seek immediate medical attention: If you believe a child has swallowed a magnet, contact a medical professional or seek care at an emergency facility immediately. Do not wait for it to pass normally. 

  • Watch for signs of magnet ingestion: The warning signs can include abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. These symptoms can often appear to be other abdominal issues and can be difficult for a medical professional to diagnose. If there is a possibility that your child swallowed a magnet, ask the medical professional to take X-rays immediately. 

For more information:

https://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2021/Zen-Magnets-and-Neoballs-Magnets-Recalled-Due-to-Ingestion-Hazard

https://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/Magnets

https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/High-Powered%20Magnet%20Safety%20Alert.pdf

https://uspirg.org/page/usp/avoiding-dangerous-toys