High Levels of Arsenic and Lead Found in Unbranded Magnetic Putty Sold on Amazo

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Unsafe Magnetic Putty with too much arsenic

High levels of arsenic and lead have been found in unbranded tins of magnetic putty by Northamptonshire Trading Standards Service.

An investigation found that magnetic putty being sold on a market stall had seven times the amount of arsenic and twice the amount of lead permitted in the squishy compound.

Arsenic is an element that occurs in nature, however, in its inorganic form used in industrial processes, long-term exposure can cause cancer. Childhood exposure to arsenic and lead has been linked to the impairment of cognitive development and an increased death-rate in young adults.

The product was also found to be sold online via Amazon’s UK website, leading to the internet company removing it from sale.

An image on BBC’s website showed that the putty withdrawn from the Amazon website was sold by a third party that described themselves as Norwegian Naturals.

It was also discovered that the small cube-shaped magnet that was included in the tin contained 29 times in excess of the magnetic force that is allowed.

The magnetic cube was also “…of a size that could be easily swallowed…”, according to Trading Standards. The product’s packaging – in the form of a tin – did warn that it was not suitable for 0-3 years of age, however, it did not have a CE mark to indicate that it compiled with toy safety regulations nor did detail the manufacturer or importer of the product.

Unsafe Magnetic Putty - the contents of product banned by trading standards


Swallowing a magnet with a metal object or another magnet can lead to the objects being stuck in the intestinal tract. Surgery is required to clear the obstruction and if it is not dealt with in time the resulting lacerations or rupture can cause death.

The product’s lack of supplier details not only indicated that proper safety assessments may not have been undertaken but it makes tracing and the removal of the product from sale slower and more difficult.

The banned magnetic putty was sold in tins, replicating how many other reputable suppliers package such products. The label on the tin is rather plain with no branding, simply stating “Magnetic Putty” as a title on the stuck on label.

In addition to the putty compound wrapped in a resealable bag and small magnet, the tins also included what was described as four “googly eyes”, like those you may find in a children’s art kit, plus an instruction sheet.

Reputable sources of popular play putty are readily available, such as those listed by The Toy Detectives or if you insist on using Amazon we recommend searching for Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty.

Further evidence: Nottingham County Council

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