Magnets are potential safety hazards, especially for children. In this guide, we cover ASTM standards, labeling, and testing requirements applicable to magnets used in toys and other children’s products, adult jewelry, and other usages.
ASTM F963 – Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety
ASTM F963 addresses hazards and safety requirements for toy products, including magnetic toys, which has been adopted by the CPSC. Further, ASTM F963 compliance is also mandatory for most products covered by CPSIA.
Here are some examples of toys containing magnetic materials and components:
- Magnetic fishing games
- Magnetic matching games
- Magnetic building sticks
- Magnet board games
- Magnet cubes
Magnet Ingestion Hazards
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which aims at ensuring the safety of products that are intended to be used by children under the age of 12 years old, has adopted ASTM F963 – Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety as a mandatory standard.
The standard addresses ingestion hazards associated with toys containing magnetic materials. The standard requires that magnetic materials used in toys should be tested in accordance with the test methods listed in section 8.25.
This standard states that children’s toys containing magnetic materials should carry a warning statement to inform users of the hazards of the magnets after being swallowed by children.
ASTM F963 also includes magnet testing methods. This includes, for example, cyclic soaking tests for mouthpieces of moth-actuated toys with magnets or magnetic components.
Importers and manufacturers of toy magnets and toys containing magnetic materials must comply with the requirements of the CPSIA, such as:
- Compliance with applicable ASTM standards required*
- Tracking labeling
- Children’s Product Certificate (CPC)
- Lab testing conducted by a CPSC-accepted lab
*As mentioned, this also includes ASTM F963
- CPSIA Tracking Label Guide For Importers & Amazon Sellers
- CPSIA Children’s Product Certificate (CPC): A Practical Guide
- CPSIA Requirements For Amazon Sellers: Frequently Answered Questions
- CPSIA and ASTM F963 Product Lab Testing
- List of CPSIA Consulting Companies
ASTM F3458 – Standard Specification for Marketing, Packaging and Labeling Adult Magnet Sets Containing Small, Loose, Powerful Magnets
ASTM F3458 covers packaging, labeling, and warning requirements for adult magnet sets containing small, powerful magnets that are commonly used for the purpose of entertainment, education, mental stimulation, or stress relief. The standard only covers magnets with a Flux Index bigger than 50 KG2 mm2. Its purpose is to minimize the hazards of young children accidentally swallowing the magnets.
Examples of covered products include:
- Magnetic balls and cubes
- Magnet building tiles
- Magnet playsets
- Magnetic rings fidget
ASTM F3458 requires that magnet products must carry a warning label to inform the users of the potential hazards when using the products improperly.
Also, the instructions used on adult magnet products must be easy to read and understand. They should contain information on assembly, maintenance, cleaning, storage, and use.
This standard specifies the packaging requirements for adult magnets, including the following:
- Storage of products
- Placement of warning label
- Marking methods
- Container performance
- Outer package statements
ASTM F2999 – Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Adult Jewelry
ASTM F2999 provides safety specifications for adult jewelry. It requires that jewelry containing magnets that are small enough to present swallowing hazards to children must carry a warning label.
The warning label should include information concerning the fact that magnets swallowed by children could cause serious consequences (e.g. intestine puncture, visceral hemorrhage).
Examples of adult jewelry that could contain magnets include:
- Arm cuffs
ASTM A977 – Standard Test Method for Magnetic Properties of High-Coercivity Permanent Magnet Materials Using Hysteresigraphs
ASTM A977 specifies the test method to determine the magnetic characteristics (e.g. initial magnetization, demagnetization) of permanent magnets such as ferrites and cobalt.
The test method specified in this standard is applicable to materials processed into bulk magnets by any common fabrication technique, such as casting, sintering, rolling, and molding. The test method is not suitable for thin films or for magnets that are very small or of unusual shape.
16 CFR Parts 1112 and 1262 – Safety Standard for Magnets (Proposal)
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) proposed a rule under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) to regulate the safety of consumer products that contain high-powered magnets.
The intention of the proposal is to address the risks of children swallowing high-powered magnets, which might lead to serious consequences such as perforations, blockages, ruptures, or death.
The CPSC proposed to cover consumer products containing one or more loose or separable magnets and that are designed or marketed for the purpose of entertainment, jewelry decoration, mental stimulation, or stress relief.
Toys that are subject to CPSC’s mandatory toy standards, such as ASTM F963, are exempt from the proposed rule.
This proposal suggests that loose or separable magnets in covered products must comply with several requirements, including:
a. Magnets must comply with the small part cylinder test specified in 16 CFR 1501.4, that is the diameter of a magnet must be greater than 31.7 mm
b. Each magnet should be tested in accordance with the magnet flux index test specified in ASTM F963
c. Each loose or separable magnet in a product that fits entirely within CPSC’s small parts cylinder should have a flux index of less than 50 kG2 mm2
California Proposition 65
California Proposition 65 applies to consumer products that are sold in the State of California. It prohibits the unrestricted use of chemicals and heavy metals that are deemed to be toxic, without using the appropriate warnings.
California Proposition 65 also applies to magnets and products containing magnetic materials.
Manufacturers might add certain alloying elements to the magnetic materials to improve their magnetic properties and resistivity. Examples of heavy metals found in magnetic materials that are restricted by California Proposition 65 are:
- Nickle and nickel compounds
Amazon US prohibits the sales of individual novelty magnets and novelty magnet sets that are used for the purpose of entertainment, education, mental stimulation, or stress relief. Amazon even bans magnets sold by specific brands.
If you want to read more about Amazon’s safety policy on magnets, visit the dedicated page for magnets on the Amazon Seller Central.
RoHS is an EU Directive that restricts the use of heavy metals, and other dangerous substances, in electronics. Such restrictions have been adopted by several US states.
Magnetic materials might contain natural or intentional-added heavy metals. For this reason, some companies such as Magnet Shop chose to test their products against RoHS substance restrictions, even if magnets may not always fall under the scope of RoHS.
Examples of magnets that might contain heavy metals are:
- Flexible magnets sheeting and strips
- Ceramic magnets
- Samarium cobalt magnets
- Magnetic field measuring tools
- Strong holding and lifting magnets
RoHS restricts the following heavy metals:
- Lead < 0.1% by weight
- Mercury < 0.1% by weight
- Hexavalent Chromium < 0.1% by weight
- Cadmium < 0.01% by weight