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Are Neodymium Magnets Illegal?

There is a controversy surrounding neodymium magnets. Hence people keep asking: are neodymium magnets illegal? The correct answer to that question depends on your location and what type of neodymium magnets you’re asking about.

This article will answer this question and tell you where to buy neodymium magnets in bulk.

Are Neodymium Magnets Illegal?

No, Neodymium magnets are not illegal. Towards the end of 2014, the US Consumer Safety Product Commission (CSPC) enacted an all-ages ban on the sales, manufacturing, and importation of high-powered magnet spheres that fit within CSPC’s small parts cylinder, but the ban was lifted in 2016.

What Type of Neodymium Magnets are Banned?

As I have already mentioned, not all neodymium magnets were banned in the United States in 2014. The banned magnets are small magnet sets marketed as toys, construction items, or stress relievers.

The CSPC gave the final rule concerning these magnets on October 3rd, 2014, stating that “if a magnet set contains a magnet that fits within the CPSC’s small parts cylinder, each magnet in the magnet set must have a flux index of 50 kG2 mm2 or less.”

In particular, the magnets that were banned are any little, loose, and detachable magnetic object:

  • That is supplied as aggregated masses or in multiples of two or more.
  • That is intended or marketed primarily as a manipulative or construction desk toy or jewelry.
  • That has a magnetic flux index of greater than 50 kG2mm2.
  • Where the product on sale comprises one or more magnets that fit within the small parts cylinder.

There is still a vast range of magnet types that were not affected by the new rule. The ban does not apply to any magnet:

  • That is produced as parts for manufacture into other goods or the repair of other goods;
  • That is meant for scientific research; or
  • That is supplied as industrial, medical, or therapeutic goods.
Small magnetic balls 3

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History of Magnets Ban

Tiny neodymium magnet balls have a powerful magnetic force. They can pull at one another over far distances and across either side of an object.

The strength explains why they can be used as fake studs on the tongue, the nose, and the ears—their magnetism can easily pass through skin and tissues.

So when a person has two or more of these balls in their digestive tract, complications arise as they begin attracting each other.

History of Magnets Ban

Neodymium magnets are metals, so they cannot be digested. But they can move along the digestive tract, all the while attracting whatever metallic object their magnetism can reach, even through walls of skin and tissues.

Suppose someone has one or more pieces of magnetic balls in a loop of their intestine and another piece in a different loop. In that case, those pieces will attract each other, forcefully pulling the intestine walls together.

In some cases, they may make a hole in the bowels, but in most cases, getting them out of a person’s system requires surgery.

Small separable magnet sets were banned in several countries.

United States

In the US, these spherical magnetic balls that you can mold into any shape you want are popularly known as buckyballs. Meanwhile, buckyballs is an unprotected brand name by Maxfield and Oberton Holdings LLC. The primary competitor to buckyballs was neoballs, a similarly magnetic product manufactured by Zen Magnets.

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Before 2014, there were several reports of children and teenagers accidentally swallowing these tiny magnetic balls. Reports of children ingesting magnetic balls show that it is merely an accident due to not knowing what they were holding.

On the other hand, reports of teenagers swallowing magnetic balls show that it mainly happened while trying to use the magnets as fake tongue piercings to join an online trend.

In June 2012, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a letter to the Chairwoman of the Consumer Safety Product Commission, urging them to “ban the sale of dangerous high-powered magnets.”

After a series of lawsuits, neodymium magnetic toys were banned across the United States. This ban, however, was overturned in 2016.

Canada

The reason for banning magnetic balls in Canada was the exact reason for placing a ban on them in the US—the risk of ingestion.

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It is stated on the Canadian Government website that injuries sustained from swallowing magnetic balls can lead to emergency surgery, lifelong health problems, and even death.

Canada’s move to ban these balls started shortly after the sale of buckyballs and neoballs was prohibited in the US. However, while the ban has been overturned in the US since 2016, they remain banned in Canada.

New Zealand

Small magnetic balls were also banned in New Zealand because of the health risk they pose when ingested. However, New Zealand’s reason for prohibiting these products is more valid than just following in another nation’s footsteps.

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According to the New Zealand government’s website, Simon Bridges, the then Minister of Consumer Affairs, announced the ban on the sale and manufacture of high-powered magnet sets that have caused injuries in New Zealand and at least one death in Australia.

However, the ban only applies to the sales of these magnets for personal or domestic use. Hence, it can still be found in schools and universities for teaching purposes. It can also still be used for industrial and construction purposes.

Uses of Neodymium Magnets in Daily Life

Several nations banned the sale and manufacturing of small neodymium magnet spheres. So it may seem like those toys are the only significant use cases of neodymium magnets, but that’s not true. Below are the uses of neodymium magnets in daily life:

  1. Magnets are Used as Head Actuators for Computer Hard Disks. Computer hard disks store information on a magnetic plate called platters.
  2. They are Used in Speakers and Headphones. This is possible by placing the electromagnetic coil in a cylindrical magnet. So when electric current flows through the coil, the magnet generates sound waves.
  3. They are Used as locks for Doors. Because neodymium magnets are powerful, they are often used in mag locks where the magnet is fixed on the doorframe, and the armature is mounted on the door.
  4. Neodymium magnets are used in Magnetic Bearings. Magnetic bearings are used in industrial machines like pumps, compressors, turbines, and generators.
  5. They are Used as Magnetic Jewelry Clasps. Neodymium magnet is now viral in the jewelry industry. Consumers find it much easier to wear and remove their jewelry with magnetic clasps than with traditional fasteners.
  6. They are Used in Magnetic Dartboards. Neodymium magnets are used in magnetic dartboards. It helps prevent children from injuring themselves with sharp darts and prevents scrapes sharp darts make on the walls when you miss your aim.
  7. As Electric Generators for Wind Turbines
  8. Magnets are Used in Magnetic Therapy Bracelets. Many reports state that magnetic bracelets have some healing and stress-relieving properties.
  9. To Treat Recurring Acid Reflux, they are surgically implanted around the lower esophageal sphincter, a ring of muscle at the end of the esophagus.
  10. In Magnetic Pin Dish. Magnetic pin dishes have a whole lot of benefits. They are handy if you have tiny metallic objects you wish to keep from scattering all over your workspace.
  11. They are used in MRI scanners as an alternative to superconducting magnets. Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses magnetism and the large percentage of water in the human body to produce detailed images of human body tissue and structures.

Safety Precautions When Handling Neodymium Magnets

When handling neodymium magnets, there is a risk of injury. From blisters when your fingers are caught between two pieces slamming into each other to speckles having broken pieces fly into your eye.

To prevent these, below are safety precautions for handling neodymium magnets:

  • Don’t handle magnets if it is not necessary to do so.
  • Try to keep strong magnets away from your head, eyes, heart, and trunk regions of the body.
  • Avoid long-term close bodily contact with strong magnets.
  • People with cardiac pacemakers, hormone infusion pumps, or other sensitive medical devices should stay away from magnets.
  • Keep your electronics and credit cards stored away safely when working with magnets.
  • Always wear safety goggles when working with magnets.
  • Be sure that your daily exposure does not exceed 2,000 gausses or 0.2 teslas.
  • Keep children as far away as you can away from powerful neodymium magnets.
  • Safely discard novelty magnet sets with little-size powerful magnets.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for any person who has swallowed (or is suspected of having swallowed) 1 or more magnets.
  • Study and follow the age recommendations, warnings, safety messages, and product assembly instructions.

Where Can I Buy Industrial Neodymium Magnets in Bulk?

ROBO Magnetic is one of China’s leading neodymium magnets manufacturers and has been operating for the last 16 years, shipping an average of 800 tons of finished neodymium magnets.

At ROBO Magnetic, we prioritize product quality and client satisfaction. All our products are ISO 9001:2015 certified, and we can offer a production part approval report.

We are an international company, and we serve industrial, commercial, and retail customers worldwide. Contact us today to see how we can help you with high-quality neodymium magnets.

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Article by

ROBO Magnetic Product Team

We are the manufacturer with 16 years of experience in custom neodymium magnets.

Need A Quote? Get in touch with us directly.

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