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Health Canada is Taking Action to have Small, Powerful Magnet Sets Removed from the Marketplace

Starting date:
May 22, 2013
Posting date:
May 22, 2013
Type of communication:
Children's Products, Household Items, Toys
Source of recall:
Health Canada
Product Safety
General Public
Identification number:


Health Canada is warning Canadians that a number of novelty magnet sets marketed to adults that were sold in Canada are a danger to human health or safety. These sets contain small, powerful magnets that can be easily swallowed or inhaled by children of all ages resulting in serious adverse effects on their health. Health Canada is now taking action to identify and have these dangerous products removed from the marketplace.

When more than one powerful magnet is swallowed in a short period of time, the magnets can attract one another while moving through the intestines. This can cause the intestines to twist, creating blockages or tearing of the intestinal walls. The results of swallowing small, powerful magnets can be very serious and life-threatening. Swallowing incidents have often resulted in considerable damage to the gastrointestinal tissues and required emergency surgical treatment.  For survivors, there can be serious lifelong health problems.

Health Canada is particularly concerned about novelty magnet sets containing more than one small, powerful magnet, regardless of the intended age of the user, where the set is intended for use as a toy or manipulative for general entertainment, such as puzzle working, sculpture building, mental stimulation or stress relief. These sets generally consist of a number of small (various sizes, but commonly 5 mm in diameter) powerful, rare earth element magnetic pieces in spherical, cube and/or cuboid shapes. Rare earth element magnets are many times more powerful than traditional magnets and pose unique dangers.

Health Canada has identified the following novelty sets that may have been distributed in Canada:

  • BuckyBalls Magnetic Building Spheres
  • BuckyBalls BuckyBars Magnetic Building Rods
  • BuckyBalls BuckyBigs XL Magnetic Building Spheres
  • BuckyBalls BuckyCubes Magnetic Building Cubes
  • BuckyBalls Chromatics Magnetic Building Spheres
  • BuckyBalls Sidekick Magnetic Building Spheres
  • Nanodots Spheres
  • Nanodots Colors
  • Mega Nanodots sets
  • Magnicube Magnet Balls
  • Magnicube Magnet Cubes
  • Neoballs (polymer, electroplate)
  • Neocube Alpha
  • Neocube G
  • Neocube Omega
  • Neo Mini
  • CubeTastic Value Pack
  • NeoMagnetic Cube 5mm Triple Nickel
  • NeoMagnetic Cube 6mm Triple Nickel
  • NeoMagnetic Cube 5mm Gold
  • NeoMagnetic Cube 5mm Glazed Spheres Various Colours
  • NeoMagnetic Square 5mm
  • SuperMagnetMan Super neo magnet sphere sets (SP0190)
  • SuperMagnetMan Super small neo magnet sphere sets (SP0326)
  • SuperMagnetMan Super neo magnet sphere sets (SP0510)
  • Zen Magnets
  • Zen Magnets Mini
  • Zen Mandala Set

In addition to concerns with novelty magnet sets marketed to adults, since 2006 there have been several recalls of children’s toys with powerful magnets where the magnetic pieces were either small enough to be swallowed, or tiny magnets were separating from the toy and being swallowed by children. Consumers should check the Healthy Canadians Recalls and Safety Alerts database for dangerous toys and take action to remove toys of concern. Even if not recalled, remove and safely discard any toys with powerful magnets where the magnets are loose or the magnetic toy pieces are small enough to be swallowed.

What you should do

  • Consumers should immediately stop using any novelty magnet sets and contact their municipality for instructions on how to dispose of or recycle the products. 
  • Keep novelty magnet sets out of the reach of children.
  • Do not allow children to play with small toys or other small items that contain powerful magnets.
  • Check your children’s toys for wear and tear. Throw away any toys with magnets that have come loose.
  • Teach children of all ages that magnets and items containing magnets should never be placed in their mouth or nose.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for any child who has swallowed (or is suspected of having swallowed) one or more magnets. You should also report any injuries or safety concerns.
  • Read and follow the age recommendations, warnings, safety messages and assembly instructions for products.

Report health or safety concerns

Health Canada would like to remind Canadians to report any health or safety incidents related to the use of a consumer product or cosmetic. An incident report form is now available on the Department's website.

Mail: Incident Report - Consumer Product Safety Directorate
Health Canada
269 Laurier Avenue West – 4907A
Ottawa, ON, Canada, K1A 0K9

Media enquiries

Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Public enquiries

(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

What Health Canada is doing

Health Canada has determined that some products containing small, powerful magnets are a danger to Canadian children and teens, and their presence in the marketplace may be a violation of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act’s (CCPSA) general prohibition against the supply of consumer products that pose a danger to human health or safety. These magnets are found in some novelty magnet sets that appeal to children, and in some children's toys.

Health Canada is now taking action to have these dangerous products removed from the marketplace. Today, Health Canada published a recall related to a number of novelty magnet sets marketed to adults that contain small, powerful magnets which can be easily swallowed or inhaled by children. Information about the specific recalled products can be found on the Healthy Canadians Recall and Safety Alerts database. Consumers should immediately stop using these recalled magnet sets and contact their municipality for instructions on how to dispose of or recycle the recalled products. 

Health Canada is also reminding the public to keep any products with small, loose powerful magnets out of the hands of children of all ages. Retailers are also reminded of the dangers these products may pose to their customers.


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For more information

For more information on the danger of swallowing magnets, see Magnets - health risks.

Consumers and health professionals wanting more information about this advisory can contact the nearest Health Canada Product Safety Office by phone at 1-866-662-0666 (toll-free) or email at (please indicate the province or territory from which you are corresponding).

To alert parents and caregivers of the serious hazards associated with small powerful magnets, Health Canada has issued a number of consumer advisories: