Regardless of the type, there’s probably at least a few magnets in your home. They probably consist of refrigerator magnets that are used for hanging photos on the fridge, showcasing your kids’ latest achievements at school, or just giving you something to smile at. However, there are a few things magnets aren’t perfect for. Some are a little silly, and others are downright scary, but they’re all inadvisable.
1. Eating Them: As toys made up of hundreds of tiny magnets gained popularity in recent years, so did the reports about serious health problems caused by eating them. Ingesting one magnet on its own isn’t entirely catastrophic, aside from the fact that you may have a magnet in you for a while, depending on its size. However, if two or more magnets are consumed, they can cause intestinal blockages because they are attracted to one another, despite the organs in between.
2. Rubbing Them on Your Credit Cards: Nearly all credit and debit cards have a magnetic strip that stores data. This is how machines read the card when you swipe it. If you rub a strong magnet on the card, it can actually wipe off the information, making your card literally just a piece of plastic. Cashiers will have to enter the credit card number manually and may even have to call the credit card company to approve the transaction. You probably don’t want to stand there waiting for all of this to happen every time you want to buy a cup of coffee.
3. Using Them as Pretend Piercings: If you find two small magnets and attach them to one another with some skin in the middle, it can look like a piercing. The problem is that magnets that are strong enough to stay on through skin are also going to be strong enough to entirely cut off circulation and damage tissue. Think about it. Do you really want a huge purple bruise there after you take out your fake nose stud or belly button stud? Didn’t think so.
4. Putting Them Near a Pacemaker: Strong magnets can interfere with the functioning of a pacemaker. Given that this device is essential for keeping a person’s heart beating at a steady rate once it’s implanted, it’s critical to stay away from strong magnets. Refrigerator magnets shouldn’t be a problem, but larger equipment like MRI machines and industrial magnets can stop a pacemaker from working.
5. Trying to Bend Regular Silly Putty: Magnets won’t do a thing to regular silly putty, so don’t bother trying. However, if you work about a tablespoon of ferric iron oxide powder (from an artist supply store) into plain old silly putty, the story changes. You’ll end up with a putty that interacts delightfully with plain old magnets.
These tips on what to avoid doing with magnets are provided by custom magnets company Magnets.com. While Magnets.com loves magnetic materials and the products they make, they also want to remind consumers the potential hazards of magnet misuse.