WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission voted 4-0 for proposed rulemaking aimed at developing a new federal standard for small, high-powered magnet sets.
The small, high-powered magnet sets were associated with 1,700 emergency room-treated injuries from 2009 to 2011 -- with 70 percent of the injuries to children ages 4-12.
Many of these magnet sets are marketed as sculptures, puzzles, and stress relievers for adults and promoted as "executive toys" and are labeled not for use by children.
However, CPSC officials said the magnet sets have strong appeal to children and pose a potential for high-severity injuries.
"If swallowed, these magnets can link together inside a child's intestines and clamp onto body tissues, causing intestinal obstructions, perforations, sepsis and death. Internal damage from magnets can pose serious lifelong health effects," CPSC officials said in a statement.
"The proposed mandatory standard would set performance requirements for magnet sets based on their size and strength. Magnet sets that do not meet the performance requirement could not be sold as a manipulative or a desk toy."