Lisa Cox August 29, 2012
ultra strong magnets. Photo: Anthony Johnson
The ACT Government has temporarily banned magnetic items such ‘Buckyballs’, ‘Neocubes’ and ‘Neodymium sphere' magnets.
The novelty products contain small, high-powered magnets which, if swallowed, can pinch or trap the intestine and require surgery to remove.
The magnets are intended for adults as a desktop accessory that can be moulded into patterns and shapes.
But, despite warning labels, the products have led to a number of injuries among children and teenagers who have ingested the magnets.
“It is of grave concern that I have read reports indicating that parents are purchasing these items for children as young as eight,” said ACT Commissioner for Fair Trading Brett Phillips.
“Other reports indicate that teenagers have been known to simulate face and tongue piercings with the magnets.
“If swallowed, magnets can pinch or trap the intestinal walls or other digestive tissue resulting in acute long-term health consequences.”
Mr Phillips said he was not aware of any injuries from the magnets that had been reported in the ACT.
But similar cases had been reported in Queensland, Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales.
The Fair Trading Commissioner said many of the ACT’s department and toy stores had already removed the products from shelves following the Federal Government’s announcement of an investigation into the products last week.
Mr Phillips said most states and territories were imposing a temporary ban while the Commonwealth Government considered a permanent ban on the products.
A sales representative at Toyworld Fyshwick said they had withdrawn the products from sale almost three years ago after warnings they were unsafe.
Mr Phillips said the Office of Regulatory Services was contacting known suppliers to ensure they were aware of the ban.
The Fair Trading Commissioner said adults who had already purchased the products should keep them away from children.