Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Ban on the sale of high powered magnet sets

Hon Simon Bridges
Minister of Consumer Affairs
23 January 2013 Media Statement

Ban on the sale of high powered magnet sets

Consumer Affairs Minister Simon Bridges has announced a ban on the sale of sets of small high powered magnets that have caused serious injuries in New Zealand and at least one reported death in Australia.

The magnets are sold in New Zealand under a variety of brands in stores and over the internet. These magnets – known as ‘rare earth magnets’ – are up to 50 times stronger than conventional ferrous magnets of a similar size.

“These magnets are harmless to play with but if swallowed can cause serious internal damage that can require major surgery,” says Mr Bridges.

If two or more of these magnets are ingested they can become joined up in the digestive system and the pressure they exert can cause serious inflammation and ulceration. Left untreated, this can quickly lead to major tissue damage, perforations and potentially infection sepsis and death.

“Because of their strength, older children have been known to use these magnets as mock jewellery, such as mouth or tongue studs. Young children swallow them out of natural curiosity.

“As a result children have been seriously harmed overseas, including many hospitalisations in the United States and Australia and the death of an 18-month-old in Queensland. In December a New Zealand toddler was admitted to Auckland’s Starship Hospital after ingesting some of the magnets. Officials are aware of at least two other serious cases here involving hospitalisation and surgery.

“Though these magnets tend to be marketed at adults as office toys and many brands carry strict safety warnings, it is clear from the cases here and overseas that they pose too great a risk to children.”

The Unsafe Goods Notice for these small powerful magnets will mean that from tomorrow no one will be allowed to import or sell these magnets in New Zealand. The notice is issued under section 31 of the Fair Trading Act 1986 and will be enforced by the New Zealand Customs Service at the border and the Commerce Commission in the marketplace.

The magnets are sold all over the world and New Zealand is believed to be the third country, following Australia and the US, to formally ban them from sale.

Mr Bridges urges anyone who already owns sets of these magnets to ensure they are used safely and to be particularly careful where they are accessible by children.

“Regulation is only one measure to protect children. The most significant protection is for parents and other adults to make sure that young children cannot access these magnets and that older children are made aware of the dangers of misusing them.”

ENDS


Questions and Answers

1. What products are subject to this ban?

These measures are aimed at prohibiting the sale and supply of small, strong magnets sold in sets of two or more. The magnets are very different from conventional ferrous type magnets in that they are extremely powerful. They are made of a substance known as neodymium-iron-boron (NIB) or rare earth.

Example:

These measures are
aimed at prohibiting the sale and supply of small, strong
magnets sold in sets of two or more.  The magnets are very
different from conventional ferrous type magnets in that
they are extremely powerful.  They are made of a substance
known as neodymium-iron-boron (NIB) or rare
earth.

2. What about the magnets already out there?

The ban is not retrospective so there will be numerous sets of these magnets already out in the community. It is important for parents and care-givers to make sure young children cannot access the magnets and that older children are aware of the risks.

The magnets were advertised as being for adults and some brands carry strict usage warnings. It is important that they are used safely.

3. Why not recall all of these magnets?

The supply chain for these products is very fragmented with no one single company or product. Many have been supplied via the internet, including overseas websites. All these factors would make the coordination of a recall very difficult with a very limited chance of getting a significant level of products returned.

4. Does this mean magnets of this type will be banned from use in the classroom (as a science teaching aid)?

The action I have taken will only apply to the sales of these magnets for personal or domestic use. This ban will not affect the use of this type of magnet in schools and universities for teaching purposes nor would it affect any industrial or commercial use of these magnets.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

EPA: Board Of Inquiry Rejects Basin Flyover By Majority Of 3 To 1

The independent Board of Inquiry delegated to decide on the Basin Bridge Proposal has, by a majority decision (3 to 1), cancelled the Transport Agency’s Notice of Requirement and declined its resource consent applications for the construction, operation and maintenance of a flyover on State Highway 1 in Wellington City between Paterson Street and Buckle Street/Taranaki Street...

Parties specified under Section 149Q(3) of the RMA now have 20 working days to make comments on minor or technical aspects of the report. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Non-Apology To Tania Billingsley

The refusal by Prime Minister John Key to issue a personal apology to Tania Billingsley has been accompanied by an array of excuses... Yesterday though, Key’s choice of words indicated that an apology was the last thing on his mind. More>>

ALSO:

Conventions: Winston Peters On The Nation

Winston Peters opens door to standing in East Coast Bays electorate, says it's an "exciting point" and he's thinking about it. "I’ve had a whole lot of people writing to me and calling up and saying ‘why don’t you have a go in East Coast Bays’." More>>

ALSO:

Waitangi Tribunal: Report On The MV Rena

In its interim report, the Waitangi Tribunal has found that the Crown’s conduct in response to the grounding of the MV Rena on Otaiti (Astrolabe) reef breached the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. More>>

ALSO:

Gaza: Wellington Protest For Palestine Calls For End To Bombing

Around 300 people gathered outside the Israeli Embassy in Wellington on Friday to protest Israel’s occupation of Palestine. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Failure To Prosecute The GCSB

So one hand of the state – the Independent Police Conduct Authority – has now washed the hands of its brother agencies, and declared that all hands are clean. Case closed. More>>

ALSO:

Illegal Search: Police Behaviour 'Reminiscent Of Tūhoe Raids'

"Māori will lose further trust and confidence in the New Zealand Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) if the recent incident in Stratford is not adequately addressed. This behaviour would not occur in Epsom or Khandallah so why should police think that such behaviour was acceptable in Stratford," says Chris McKenzie. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news