SUMMARY OF THE REASONS FOR THE PROPOSED IMPOSITION OF A PERMANENT BAN ON SMALL, HIGH POWERED MAGNETS
The products of concern are small, high powered magnets which are generally supplied as aggregated masses to adults as novelty products for use by adults to create patterns and build shapes or which can be rearranged into different sizes and shapes or as jewellery for use in or around the mouth. These products are readily accessible from internet websites and a small number of retailers.
If any person ingests more than one of these high powered magnets, the magnets can be attracted to each other across the walls of the intestine or other digestive tissue creating the risk of perforation and other serious health conditions and, in some cases, death. There have been numerous incidents involving injury and at least one fatality reported in Australia following ingestion of these products.
The magnets appear innocuous and those about 5 mm in size may be potentially mistaken for small ball bearings or cake decoration confectionery. Warnings on packaging are likely to be insufficient and/or ineffective because once the product is removed from its packaging, the magnets themselves carry no warning.
Accordingly, it appears that swallowing these magnets is a reasonably foreseeable misuse of these products which may cause injury, including the risk of blockage, perforation, blood poisoning and in some cases, death.