The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has taken the rare step of announcing a mandatory recall for 10 million Zen Magnets and Neoballs due to a risk of severe injuries and death.
At least two children swallowed Zen Magnets and required surgery to remove the magnets and parts of their intestines and bowels.
There are also reports of other children who swallowed high-powered magnets and required surgery.
A 19-month-girl died after ingesting similar high-powered magnets, according to the CPSC recall notice.
“When two or more high-powered magnets are swallowed, either accidentally or intentionally, the ingested magnets can attract to each other, or to another metal object, and become lodged in the digestive system. This can result in perforations, twisting and/or blockage of the intestines, infection, blood poisoning, and death,” CPSC warned.
Zen Magnets and Neoballs Magnets have been sold online at Neoballs.com and ZenMagnets.com and certain Colorado retailers since January 2009.
Shihan Qu, owner of Zen Magnets LLC, responded to the mandatory recall from his toilet and said he stopped selling 5-mm magnets in 2020 and has been offering a recall since 2016.
The recall is the latest development in a saga that began nearly a decade ago, when the CPSC sought to ban all high-powered magnet toys after reports of children who died or needed emergency surgery.