Zen Magnets, Neoballs High-Powered Magnet Toys Can Kill Kids If Swallowed

After years of controversy, federal regulators have finally announced a rare mandatory recall for Zen Magnets and Neoballs. These high-powered magnet toys have been linked to severe injury and death when swallowed by children, including toddlers and teenagers.

The Killino Firm’s Child Injury Lawyers believe the victims of defective toys and other dangerous products are entitled to compensation for their pain and suffering. If your son or daughter sustained a serious or fatal intestinal injury after swallowing Zen Magnets, Neoballs, or another high-powered rare earth magnet toy or neodymium magnet spheres, please call our law firm toll-free at 877-875-2927 to speak with a top personal injury attorney and learn more about your legal rights.

What Parents Should Know About Rare Earth Magnet Toys

Rare earth magnet sets are composed of tiny, high-powered magnetic balls or cubes, some smaller than the tip of a ballpoint pen, that can be used to construct fun shapes and interesting magnetic sculptures. Although many of these magnetic balls or magnetic discs are sold as desk toys or craft/hobby supplies for adults, the shiny magnetic beads that make up these sets appeal to individuals of all ages – especially kids.

In addition to Zen Magnets and Neoballs, other rare earth magnet sets and toys include:

  • Nanodots Toys
  • Bucky Cube Toys
  • Buckyball Toys
  • DigiDot Toys
  • Fidget Toys
  • Magnetic Stick Toys
  • Magnetic Building Blocks
  • Tile magnet toys
  • Magnetix construction toy

High-powered earth magnet toys can be purchased in retail stores and online, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Groupon. The tiny magnetic balls that make up these sets are about 30 times stronger than a standard kitchen or refrigerator magnet, making them the most powerful commercially available permanent magnets.

If anyone – including a toddler, a small child, or teenager — swallows two rare earth magnet balls, their powerful attraction can damage the digestive system. If multiple high-powered magnetic stones or beads are ingested, the potential for a severe or fatal intestinal injury only increases.

CPSC Has Fought to Recall Rare Earth Magnet Toys for Years

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) first issued a warning about high-powered magnet toys in 2011. A year later, the agency developed mandatory standards that would have banned the sets in many cases. Those standards went into effect in 2014.

By the time the CPSC announced its mandatory standards, rare earth magnet sets and toys had been associated with an estimated 1,700 emergency room-treated injuries between 2009 and 2011.  The vast majority of those injuries – 70% — involved kids between 4 and 12 years old.

Unfortunately, the magnet toy industry didn’t take the move sitting down, with two companies – including Zen Magnets LLC – heading to court to challenge the CPSC’s action. At the same time, the industry moved to develop voluntary standards that would have only made it more difficult for the regulator to take action.

Although one of the firms involved in the court challenge eventually backed down, Zen Magnets LLC continued its fight, and the court temporarily blocked the standards in 2016. Once the ban was lifted, poison control centers around the country saw reports of magnet-swallowing incidents jump six-fold.

Zen Magnets and Neoballs Recall

Late last year, a federal appeals court finally cleared the way for the CPSC to protect kids from dangerous rare earth magnet toys. The agency announced the mandatory Zen Magnets and Neoballs recall on August 17, 2021, once the deadline for further legal challenges had expired.

Zen Magnets and Neoballs magnets are high-powered 5 mm spherical magnets sold individually or in sets of 72, 216 with 6 spares, or 1,728 with 8 spares) in silver, gold, red, orange, green, blue, and purple. “Zen Magnets” or “Neoballs” are printed on the packaging.

The recalled magnets were available for sale online at Neoballs.com and ZenMagnets.com and at the following Colorado retailers beginning in January 2009:

  • Botanico, 3054 Larimer Street, Denver, Colo.80205
  • Chronic Life, 12 Federal Boulevard, Denver, Colo. 80219
  • The Glass Hut, 1350 South Sheridan Boulevard #9, Denver, Colo. 80232
  • The Hemp Center – Colorado Springs, 2501 West Colorado Avenue #106, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80904
  • The Hemp Center – Littleton, 2430 West Main Street, Littleton, Colo. 80120
  • Herbal Alternatives: New Broadsterdam, 2568 South Broadway, Denver, Colo. 80210
  • Herbal Dazed, 6525 Federal Boulevard, Denver, Colo. 80221
  • Hobby Town – Aurora, 1915 South Havana Street, Aurora, Colo. 80014
  • Hobby Town – Lakewood, 3355 South Wadsworth Boulevard, Lakewood, Colo. 80227
  • Lightshade on Holly, 3950 North Holly Street, Denver, Colo. 80207
  • Lyon’s Finest 2, 11080 East 47th Avenue, Denver, Colo. 80239
  • Meadowlark 64, 2701 Larimer Street, Denver, Colo. 80205
  • MK Vapor, 10273 East Iliff Avenue, Aurora, Colo. 80247
  • Nimbus Smoke Stop, 2960 South Federal Boulevard #7, Denver, Colo. 80236
  • Octpipe, 5303 Leetsdale Drive, Denver, Colo. 80246
  • Science Toy Magic, 11 Old Town Sq., Fort Collins, Colo. 80524
  • Secret Stashh Gifts, 3655 Brighton Boulevard, Denver, Colo. 80216
  • Soldis, Colorado Mills Mall, Lakewood, Colo. 80401
  • Vaper Jungle, 7033 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colo. 80220

Zen Magnets and Neoballs sets cost between $12 and $264, while the individual magnets were sold for 6 to 10 cents.

Zen Magnets LLC is aware of two children who ingested Zen Magnets and required surgery to remove the magnets and parts of their intestines and bowels. The CPSC is also aware of other reports of children and teenagers ingesting high-powered magnets and requiring emergency surgery. A 19-month-girl tragically died after ingesting similar high-powered magnets.

Consumers should immediately stop using Zen Magnets and Neoballs and contact Zen Magnets LLC at  1-844-936-6245 or email at contact@zenmagnets.com.

Rare Earth Magnet Injuries

Toddlers are naturally curious and often mistake rare earth magnets for candy. High-powered magnetic jewelry sets that mimic body piercings are popular among older children and teens but can lead to accidental ingestion or aspiration when attached to the nose or mouth.  In fact, doctors have recently warned families of a TikTok challenge where kids pretend to have a tongue piercing by placing magnetic balls on their tongues.  There have been several children hospitalized after unintentionally swallowing the tiny magnet beads used as fake tongue piercings as part of the viral prank.

According to a study recently published in the journal Pediatrics, the number of  kids admitted to U.S. emergency rooms due to swallowing small objects, including high-powered magnets, almost doubled from 1995 to 2015. Of those who swallowed more than one magnet, 71.1% required hospitalization.

When two or more are swallowed, a tiny magnet in one loop of the intestine will “find” another magnet in a different loop and pull the two together. The digestive system becomes trapped between magnets, cutting off blood flow to the trapped section and rapidly killing intestinal tissue, eventually leading to:

  • Intestinal Perforations
  • Twisting and/or Blockage of the Intestines
  • Infection
  • Blood Poisoning
  • Life-long Digestive Disorders
  • Death

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Choking incident in the vicinity of magnets
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Fever
  • Severe abdominal pain

Seek immediate medical attention If you suspect that your son or daughter swallowed one or more high-powered magnets. Visit your local emergency room department for an x-ray as soon as possible, and don’t allow your child to eat or drink until after receiving the x-ray.

Protect Your Kids from Rare Earth Magnet Injuries

Unfortunately, while some magnet toys contain a choking hazard label, many magnet toy packages fail to warn of the risks associated with the magnets causing severe intestinal damage. Repairing the intestinal damage caused by magnets may require multiple surgeries. Even then, some victims will continue to experience digestive issues for the rest of their lives.

To protect your children from dangerous rare earth magnets:

  • Avoid high-powered magnet sets around kids. If you have any in your home, get rid of them.
  • Keep all magnets out of reach of children who might swallow them. The best option is a locked container in a high or hidden place.
  • Keep a close eye on young children when anyone is using the magnets.
  • Put magnets​ away promptly and check carefully to ensure none are left on the floor or anywhere else a young child might find them.
  • If your kids have toys with magnets, check often for cracks where a magnet could come loose.
  • Don’t buy large magnet sets. It’s too hard to determine when a magnet is missing.
  • Educate older kids and teenagers about the dangers of ingesting magnets, especially the risks of fake magnetic piercings for the nose and mouth.
  • Tell your friends and family members about the dangers associated with swallowing magnets.
  • Get help quickly if you suspect a magnet has been swallowed.
  • Report any magnet swallowing incidents or injuries to the CPSC atgov.

Contact a Top Child Injury Lawyer Today

As a top child injury and wrongful death attorney, Jeffrey Killino has the resources and knowledge to help injured victims and their families receive the compensation they deserve.  If your child suffered an intestinal injury because of Zen Magnets, Neoballs, or another rare earth magnet toy, please do not hesitate to contact us at 1-877-875- 2927.