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Magnets – small, high powered

Small powerful magnets
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A permanent ban on small, high powered magnets that are loose or separable came into effect on 15 November 2012.

This ban applies to separable or loose magnets that meet all of the following criteria:

  • are small enough to fit into the small parts cylinder used in the mandatory standard for toys for children up to and including 36 months of age, and
  • have a magnetic flux of 50 or more, and
  • are marketed by the supplier as, or supplied for use as any of the following:
    • a toy, game or puzzle (including but not limited to an adult desk toy, an educational toy or game, a toy, game or puzzle for mental stimulation or stress relief), or
    • a construction or modelling kit, or
    • jewellery to be worn in or around the mouth or nose.


Death or serious injury and illness

If a child swallows more than one small high powered magnet, the magnets can stick together across the walls of the child's intestine or other digestive tissue. This can lead to tissue death, perforation or fistula formation; and to infection, sepsis and the child's death.

Young children under the age of three often place objects in their mouths, and many have required surgery after swallowing multiple magnets. Older children, mostly aged between seven and 15 years, have required surgery after accidentally swallowing magnets while using them to simulate piercings (such as tongue and lip piercings).


Consumer Protection Notice No. 5 of 2012 prescribes requirements of this permanent ban, which came into effect on 15 November 2012.

Note: In the Explanatory Statement for this ban on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments, an incorrect equivalency measure of 0.5 T2m2 for the magnetic flux index limit of 50 (kG)2 mm2 is provided. The correct equivalency measure in Tesla is 0.5 T2mm2.

Does this apply to your business?

Under the ACL supply includes:

  • in relation to goods - (including re-supply) by way of sale, exchange, lease, hire or hire-purchase and
  • in relation to services - provide, grant or confer.

This ban is relevant to anyone in the business of supplying small, high powered magnets, including:

  • manufacturers
  • importers
  • distributors
  • retailers.

Complying with the ban

To fully understand how to comply with the ban, suppliers must read Consumer Protection Notice No. 5 of 2012.

Penalties and consequences

Supplying small, high powered magnets that meet the definition of this ban can make you liable for heavy fines and product recalls. For more details, view Penalties and consequences.

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