June 21, 2013 – Last April the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced to industry that the Canadian Government would take action to remove dangerous magnet sets from the marketplace. "We will not hesitate to use our powers under the 'Canada Consumer Product Safety Act' to have dangerous products removed from store shelves," said Minister Aglukkaq.
Today the Harper Government announced the first-ever mandatory recall and stop sale for a consumer product. NeoMagnetic Gadgets Inc., a manufacturing company in Montreal, failed to take voluntary action to remove their novelty magnet sets from the marketplace last month. Alexis Miville-Deschenes, President of NeoMagnetic has now complied with the order and called every store that carries its products and told them to stop selling the magnets.
Consumers should stop using these dangerous products immediately and contact their municipality for instructions on how to safely dispose or recycle these magnet sets.
There have been numerous cases in Canada, the United States and Australia, where children required emergency surgery to remove the magnets from their intestines. The magnets are made of rare-earth mineral neodymium and are at least 15 times more powerful than standard magnets. They stick together with such force that if more than one is swallowed, they can bore holes in the stomach or intestines and cause severe, life-threatening complications within hours. If the high-powered magnets are not detected and removed, they can cause tissue necrosis where two loops of bowel are squeezed together which occludes the blood supply to that area of the gut causing infection, dissemination – and yes, even death.
The North American Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition reported 480 cases of high-powered magnet ingestions in the last ten years. There are also a number of new cases involving teenagers who use magnets to mimic a tongue, nose, or lip piercing and inadvertently swallow or inhale the magnets. Based on cases from 2008 through 2012, 80% required either endoscopy or surgery, including several that required removing portions of the bowel, which can cause long-term complications. Slightly more than 50% of the cases involved children age six and under and 16% occurred among teenagers.
Should a company or manufacturer refuse to comply with an order from the Government of Canada, they can face a daily fine of up to $25,000.00 until the product is removed from store shelves.
"This first mandatory recall sends a strong message to industry that our Government is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadian," said Minister Aglukkaq.
Thank you Minister Aglukkaq!