Millions of Zen Magnets and Neoballs Magnet Sets Recalled Over Ingestion Injury Risks

Federal product safety regulators have issued a mandatory recall for Zen Magnets and Neoballs Magnet sets, following years of legal proceedings and reports of severe, and often life-threatening, injuries suffered after children or mentally handicapped adults swallowed the high powered magnets.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced the Zen Magnets and Neoballs Magnets recall on August 17, due to the unacceptable risks associated with accidentally or intentionally ingesting the small pieces.

When two or more high-powered spherical magnets are swallowed, the magnets can attract each other across the intestinal walls and become lodged in the digestive system. This can lead to perforations, twisting and or blockage of the intestines, infection, blood poisoning, and death.

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According to incident reports, Zen Magnets was aware of two children who required surgery to remove parts of their intestines and bowels after consuming the company’s toy magnets. In addition, a 19-month-old girl died after ingesting a similar brand of high-powered magnets.

The CPSC indicates it has received more than 3,000 reports of children and teenagers ingesting other high-powered magnets and requiring surgery or treatment in the emergency room from 2009 to 2013.

Zen Magnets issued a scathing public response to the CPSC recall on its website, largely mocking the agency for its safety demands and prior handling of magnet recalls. The statement called the CPSC’s compliance requests “outside of it’s financial capabilities” and indicated their response to the recall would be outside of the required timeline by the agency.

The response is part of an ongoing feud between Zen Magnets and the CPSC, which tried to ban Zen Magnets and other small toy magnets several years ago because of the risk they posed to children. However, a 2016 Court of Appeals ruling reversed the ban, saying it was issued without sufficient evidence that the magnets posed a significant enough risk to children.

The CPSC took the issue up again in 2017, fixing the problems with the ban and reissuing a proposed rule-making. Once again, the issue went was challenged in court and a judge ruled the ban was unfair, sending the issue back to the CPSC.

The new Zen Magnets recall affects 10 million magnets, sold individually and in magnet sets of 72, 216 with 6 spares and 1,728 with 8 spares. Neoballs are sold individually and in sets in silver, gold, red, orange, green, red, blue and purple.

The products are sold online at neoballs.com and zenmagnets.com and some Colorado retailers such as Hobby Town and nearly two dozen other retailers throughout Colorado. The magnets were sold beginning January 2009 for $12 to $264 per set or 6 to 10 cents per magnet.

The CPSC warns consumers should immediately stop using the recalled magnets and contact Zen Magnets for a full refund.

Consumers can contact Zen Magnets LLC at 844-936-6245 or visit zenmagnets.com/CPSC-recall for more information about the recall.

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