17 July 2018
Canada Adopts Restrictions on Magnetic Toys
The Canadian government has amended the regulations under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act to include a restriction on both the size and the attractive strength of magnetic toys and magnetic components of toys, with consideration for functional magnets in electronic components as well as magnets contained in advanced experimental kits for older children. The amendments also set out a series of integrity tests to verify that dangerous magnetic components do not separate from a toy or its components when used. These amendments will enter into force on 11 January 2019.
More specifically, the amendments set a requirement that any magnetic toy or magnetic component that can be entirely enclosed in the small parts cylinder must have a magnetic flux index of less than 0.5 T2 mm2. The method to assess the magnetic flux index is set out in a new schedule of the regulations. Compliance with this criteria will also be required after the magnetic toy or magnetic component is subjected to a standard series of integrity tests. A number of tests will have to be performed to ensure that these requirements are met and those tests are generally be aligned with current U.S. and European Union test provisions.
The amendments establish two exceptions that align with those in the United States and the EU. The first is an exception for a magnetic component that is required for the function of a motor, relay, speaker, or other electric or electronic component, as long as the magnetic property is not part of the intended learning or play pattern for the toy. The second is an exception for magnetic components in toys that are advanced magnetic electrical experimental kits intended for children eight years of age or older, where the kit has a warning on its container and instructions regarding the danger of swallowing magnets.
The restrictions are aimed at protecting children from small powerful magnets made of rare earth elements, which began to proliferate in the Canadian market in 2003. The strength of these magnets makes them capable of attracting each other through up to six layers of intestinal wall, posing severe injury hazards to children. Similarly to the United States, Canada focused its early risk management efforts, starting in 2006, on providing safety information and advisories to inform and educate the public and the toy industry about the serious ingestion hazard that small powerful magnets in toys pose to children. However, in order to further protect children and in light of the mandatory standards already in place in the United States and the EU, Canadian authorities have decided to adopt their own set of restrictions on these products.