A permanent, Australia-wide ban on small, high-powered magnets has come into effect today (15 November 2012).
The Federal Government's permanent ban follows the interim ban on small, powerful magnets approved by the Victorian Minister for Consumer Affairs on 23 August 2012.
The permanent ban applies to magnets that:
- are loose or separable
- are small enough to fit into the small parts cylinder used in the mandatory standard for toys for children up to and including 36 months of age
- have a magnetic flux of 50 or more
- are marketed by the supplier as, or supplied for use as any of the following:
- a toy, game or puzzle (including but not limited to an adult desk toy, an educational toy or game, a toy, game or puzzle for mental stimulation or stress relief)
- a construction or modelling kit
- jewellery to be worn in or around the mouth or nose.
The magnets, which are used in certain novelty items marketed to adults, can cause serious injury or death if swallowed or inhaled by children.
The magnets cannot be sold or made available for sale. The banned products include:
- Neodymium sphere magnets
For more information about the dangers and specific details about the banned items, view the Magnets, small high powered page on the Product Safety Australia website.
Businesses must not sell these products and must remove them from sale, including online sales.
Consumer Affairs Victoria’s inspectors visit retailers regularly to ensure banned products are removed from shelves and to seize banned items.
The Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit reported 203 ‘ingestion of magnets’ incidents in the 15 years to 2010; 43 per cent involved ‘magnetic balls or spheres’.
There had been a substantial increase in incidents since 2005 before the bans were introduced.
For more information, view our Product Safety page.
Consumer Affairs Victoria's: Helpline: 1300 55 81 81; Website:http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/businesses/fair-trading/product-safety