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Tiny magnetic balls sold by Walmart recalled; regulators cite 7 dead and thousands hospitalized

More than 4,200 units of the relax magnetic balls are being recalled, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it “estimates 2,400 magnet ingestions were treated in hospital emergency departments from 2017 through 2021.”
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it “estimates 2,400 magnet ingestions were treated in hospital emergency departments from 2017 through 2021.”CPSC

The Consumer Product Safety Commission on Thursday recalled small but powerful magnetic balls used as building blocks and stress relievers, citing thousands of hospitalizations and at least seven deaths due to similar products.

The Relax magnetic balls are sold exclusively online at Walmart in a set of 216 multicolor balls that measure 5 mm apiece. More than 4,200 units are being recalled.

They were sold there from February 2022 through this April and cost $14 to $15, according to the recall notice.

The safety commission said it “estimates 2,400 magnet ingestions were treated in hospital emergency departments from 2017 through 2021.”

The commission knows of “seven deaths involving the ingestion of hazardous magnets, including two outside of the United States,” the notice said.

The safety commission added that the "magnetic ball sets do not comply with the requirements of the mandatory federal magnet regulation because the sets contain one or more magnets that fit within CPSC’s small parts cylinder and the magnets are stronger than permitted.”

Swallowing magnets is dangerous because they are so high-powered that they can attract to one another or to other metal objects and become lodged in the digestive system, the safety commission said.

“This can result in perforations, twisting and/or blockage of the intestines, infection, blood poisoning, and death,” the notice said.

The magnetic balls are manufactured in China and sold through a company called Joybuy.

No one with Joybuy could immediately be reached Thursday afternoon for comment.