Rare-Earth Magnets


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Handling of Rare-Earth Magnets

Rare-Earth magnetic products should be handled with care.  These magnets are very powerful and can accelerate a great speeds toward each other and toward ferrous material.  When these magnets come together quickly, they can shatter and break sending particles at high speed.  These magnets can also pinch strongly if allowed to come together against the skin.  You should always wear gloves and eye protection when handling strong rare-earth magnets.

Handling of the Material Used in the Production of Rare-Earth Magnets

Element Toxicity
Boron Elemental boron and the borates are not considered to be toxic, and they do not require special care in handling. However, some of the more exotic boron hydrogen compounds are definitely toxic and do require care.
Cobalt Exposure to cobalt (metal fumes and dust) should be limited to 0.05 mg/m3 (8-hour time-weighted average 40-hour week).
Iron Iron is a common material that is found in abundant quantities in the environment and in the human body.
Neodymium Neodymium has a low-to-moderate acute toxic rating. As with other rare earths, neodymium should be handled with care.
Samarium Little is known of the toxicity of samarium; therefore, it should be handled carefully.

Source: Los Alamos National Laboratory

Respiratory protection should be employed when dealing with any airborne particulates of any of these materials.


Children should not be allowed to play with strong rare-earth magnets or the materials used in their production.

Health Effects

Individuals with pacemakers or internal medical devices should not handle strong rare-earth magnets magnets.  Studies have shown that magnetic fields can affect the operation of these devices.  Strong rare-earth magnets should be kept at a safe distance from individuals with these devices.

National Imports LLC is not aware of any positive or negative health effects from handling rare-earth magnets.  We however recommend that pregnant women not handle very strong rare-earth magnets as a precaution.

John E. Moulder, Ph.D., of the Medical College of Wisconsin has produced a comprehensive overview of the heath effects of static magnetic fields that we encourage our customers to read.  This article is referenced by the World Health Organization as information for the general public on static magnetic fields.  The article can be found here.

Additional Sources of Information

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the Federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related disease and injury.  The Institute is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  NIOSH research on protecting workers from proven and possible EMF health risks can be found here.

The World Health Organization (WHO) initiated the International Electormagnetic Fields (EMF) Project in 1996 to collect information of the health effects of electromagnetic fields.




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