Small magnetic balls sold by Walmart recalled over swallowing dangers

The recalled Relax 5mm Science Kit, Large Hematite Magnets Magnetic Stones Building Blocks are pictured. (Credit: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission)

High-powered magnetic balls sold at Walmart have been recalled over the risk of them being swallowed, leading to serious injuries and possibly even death. 

The recall comes amid warnings earlier this month from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission about several similar toy kits after seven deaths and thousands of hospital visits were reported.

It noted how testing determined that the magnetic ball sets are stronger than permitted, and are small enough to fit within the CPSC’s small parts test cylinder – which is roughly the size of a small child’s throat. 

The most recent recall impacts a product sold exclusively on, called "Relax 5mm Science Kit, Large Hematite Magnets Magnetic Stones Building Blocks," according to a notice from the CPSC.

Under recall are about 4,240 magnetic ball products, sold from February 2022 through April 2023 for between $14 and $15.

The CPSC said the recalled 5 millimeter magnetic balls are "small, spherical, loose and separable neodymium rare-earth magnets with a strong magnetic flux." 

The magnets were sold as a set of 216 multicolored magnetic balls encased in a clear, plastic case and a portable, tin storage box. The set also included a black storage bag, according to the CPSC notice.

Anyone with the recalled magnetic balls should take them away from children and contact seller Joybuy Marketplace Express to receive a pre-paid label to return the product for a full refund. Joybuy was notifying all known purchasers directly, according to the CPSC.

The CPSC previously put consumers on alert about the safety hazards presented by similar high-powered yet small magnetic toy balls, issuing a recall for an additional product and posting warnings about several others. 

The consumer safety agency estimated that 2,400 magnet ingestions were treated in hospital emergency departments between 2017 and 2021, and said it was aware of seven deaths – including two outside the United States.

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This story was reported from Cincinnati.