CPSC Sues Magnet Maker over Hazardous, High-Powered Magnetic Balls

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by John Chapman

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has filed an administrative complaint against Zen Magnets LLC, of Denver, Colorado. Zen Magnets manufactures and sells small, powerful, individual magnets made in China and marketed as a children’s toy. The magnets are chrome-plated, about 5 millimeters in diameter and are sold in sets of 72, 216 or 1728.

The CPSC claims that Zen Magnets’ products contain defects in the design, packaging, warnings and instructions. According to the CPSC, the magnets “pose a substantial risk of in jury to the public.” Specifically, according to the CPSC’s Complaint, when two or more magnets are swallowed, they can pinch or trap the intestinal walls or other digestive tissue between them resulting in acute and long-term health consequences. These conditions can lead to infection, sepsis and possibly death.

The Commission staff alleges in its complaint that Zen Magnets’ warning and labeling are defective because they do not effectively communicate the hazard associated with ingestion of the product. The CPSC also claims that the product’s design and packaging are also defective because they fail to prevent children from gaining access to the product, and do not allow parents or caregivers to know readily if a magnet is missing and is potentially within the reach of a young child. Finally, according to the complaint, once separated from the packaging, the individual magnets themselves display no warning against ingestion or aspiration, and the small size of the individual magnets precludes the addition of such a warning.

While the CPSC’s complaint targets a single company, there are many other companies who continue to market small, powerful magnets as a children’s toy or game. These magnets are extremely dangerous for several reasons:

  • The magnets look like candy and may therefore be swallowed by small children;
  • The magnets often come loosely packaged in large quantities, making it difficult for a parent to tell if a single magnet is missing;
  • Because the magnets are so small, a parent may not notice if one is left sitting out;
  • The magnets are many times more powerful than traditional magnets;
  • When multiple magnets are swallowed, they tend to clump together, leading to possible choking or organ damage.

If your child has been injured as a result of swallowing one of these powerful magnets, you may have a right to compensation. To find out if you have a case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free online case evaluation form.