ACT: Ban on small high powered magnets

ACT Commissioner for Fair Trading, Brett Phillips, has today announced that certain adult magnetic products that are unsafe for children will be banned from sale in the ACT.

Most Australian States and Territories are proposing to impose an interim ban on the products. This follows the signing of a Draft Notice for the imposition of a permanent ban on these products by the Assistant Treasurer on 22 August 2012.

The products contain small, high powered magnets and are sold under various brand names including ‘Buckyballs’, ‘Neocubes’ and ‘Neodymium sphere magnets’. They are designed to sit on a desk and the user can mould the balls and cubes to create patterns and build shapes.

“The products are intended for use by adults, and come with warning labels, but children and teenagers have been attracted to the items. It is of grave concern that I have read reports indicating that parents are purchasing these items for children as young as eight,” said Mr Phillips.

“Other reports indicate that teenagers have been known to simulate face and tongue piercings with the magnets.

The magnets in Buckyballs and similar products are reported to be more powerful than normal magnets.

“Toys containing magnets have come under scrutiny in recent years as magnets can, and have, been ingested and caused serious injuries and death. If swallowed, magnets can pinch or trap the intestinal walls or other digestive tissue resulting in acute long-term health consequences. Tragically, in 2011, an Australian toddler died after swallowing magnets from a toy,” Mr Phillips said.

“This means that these types of products cannot be sold pending the permanent ban which will reduce the risk to the ACT public while the permanent ban is considered. Officer of Regulatory Services inspectors will contact all known ACT suppliers of these types of products to ensure they are aware of the ban.

“If a consumer has purchased any of these, or similar products, they should be kept away from children,” Mr Phillips concluded.