31 May 2024, Quezon City. The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition urged the public, parents in particular, to keep children safe from small magnet toys that young children may accidentally swallow.

The group issued the toy safety reminder after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) advised consumers on May 30, 2024, to immediately stop using and dispose of a brand of magnetic chess game due to the loose, hazardous magnets that pose a risk of serious injury or death if swallowed by children.

Toys that look similar to the magnetic chess game banned by the CPSC are being sold online shopping sites, the EcoWaste Coalition said, with 20 loose black magnets and a game board made of foam. These toys may lack the required market authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which also regulates the quality and safety of toys and child care articles, the group pointed out.

As stated in the CPSC advisory, the magnetic chess game failed the government’s mandatory regulation for magnet toys because: 1) the game set contains one or more magnets that fit within CPSC’s small parts cylinder, and 2) the magnets are stronger than permitted.

“When high-powered magnets are swallowed, the ingested magnets can attract to each other, or to another metal object, and become lodged in the digestive system. This can result in perforations, twisting and/or blockage of the intestines, infection, blood poisoning and death, ” the CPSC warned.

As per CPSC estimates 2,400 magnet ingestions were treated in hospital emergency departments from 2017 through 2021 in the United States.

Worst, eight deaths have been recorded since 2005 due to the ingestion of hazardous magnets, including two outside the country, the CPSC said.

As a precaution against hazardous magnet ingestion, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the authorities to conduct post-market surveillance targeting magnet toys sold online and in physical stores operating in shopping malls, public markets and outside schools.

The group had previously raised the alarm against educational magnets coated with lead-containing paints, as well as small toy magnets with zero labeling information.