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

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

To date, the Opposition has continued to occupy itself with the marginalia of the issue. E.g. whether Key did or didn’t know whether Barack Obama would be present at the US briefing last week on IS, or whether New Zealand’s military involvement is or isn’t already a fait accompli.

It might be better to tackle the issue, head on. Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn.
More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Tea Breaks 'Gone By Lunch Time'

“How cynical that on the eve of Labour weekend, the National government is pushing through legislation that takes away the statutory right to tea and meal breaks along with collective bargaining protections, and makes vulnerable workers jobs even less secure." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: October 22 — Parliament Today

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary Education: Students Doing It Tough As Fees Rise Again

The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. More>>

ALSO:

Housing, Iraq: PM Press Conference – 20 October 2014

Prime Minister John Key met with press today to discuss:
• Housing prices and redevelopment in Auckland
• Discussions with Tony Abbott on the governmental response to ISIS, and New Zealand’s election to the UN Security Council More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news