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Are Magnets Dangerous?

Introduction to Permanent Magnets

Permanent magnets generate strong forces thanks to their own persistent magnetic field, and they are commonly used in daily life and different industries. It is quite common to find tools and devices made from permanent magnets.

Are Magnets Dangerous?

However, the strong magnetic field of permanent magnets could lead to injuries to our bodies and possessions if not handled properly. Some people may ask, are magnets dangerous? What about strong permanent magnets? Are these magnets harmful to electronic devices? Here we will elaborate on these questions and offer useful tips for magnet handling. Related Reading: Neodymium Magnets in Electroacoustic Devices

1.    Is the Strong Magnetic Field Harmful to Us?

Most time not. A strong magnetic field does not harm the human body with cautious handling. According to British Pre-Standard No. 50166-1, there is no health risk to the human body in daily cleaning and handling if the magnetic field level is below 3000 Gauss [1]. Additionally, the negative effect of strong magnetic forces is also negligible, which is only 1/5 of the negative impact of television.

2.    Will Permanent Magnets Damage Electronic Devices?

That depends on the type of devices. Permanent magnets might cause damage to some electronic devices like phone cards, smart watches, and credit cards, while cameras, smartphones, CDs, and DVDs are unaffected. Magnetic fields can disrupt the device’s programming and stored information. Therefore, keep your electronic equipment away from strong magnets, and be careful when you are around. You can check the following table to see if your devices are safe or not. Table 1 Permanent Magnets’ Effect on Electronic Devices

Danger Phone cards, smart watches, SD/storage Cards, credit cards, computer equipment, video and audio tapes, pacemaker, and heart defibrillator
Unaffected Cameras, mobile phones, smartphones (No danger for storage medium) Vehicle keys, USB sticks, memory cards, CDs, DVDs

Table 2 Recommended Safe Distances for Permanent Magnets

Nd-Fe-B Magnetic field damaging at: S-45-30-N (strength 69 kg) S-20-10-N (strength 11 kg)
Credit card, ATM card 40mT (=400G) 46mm 19mm
Parking garage, admission ticket 3mt (= 30G) 134mm 55mm
Pacemaker 1mT(= 10 G) 201mm 82mm

3.    Precautions in Daily Life

Strong magnets can be dangerous to the human body if we do not use them with caution. There are several aspects you need to pay attention to in everyday life to avoid injuries and damage.

  • Pinching: Strong magnets attract each other and might cause severe injuries. So we are supposed to take care when using strong permanent magnets like the Nd-Fe-B magnets.
  • Children: Keep magnets out of kids’ reach. If a child swallows a strong magnet, the injury will be rather serious because the mutual attraction of the magnets in the body would cause intestinal perforation in the body.
  • Pacemakers: Persons with pacemakers or defibrillators must avoid magnets completely since these devices are sensitive to strong magnetic fields. They are not allowed to be in an environment above .5mt (5 gauss).

4.    Precautions while Using

Operators need to take care of the handling of magnets to avoid potential dangers as well.

  • They should learn about the magnets they are going to deal with. For instance, take good command of magnetic properties such as the dimensions, shapes, and environment. Check such information in advance.
  • They need to know about the criteria for using these magnets in case they are damaged or demagnetized. Avoid using magnets in hot and humid environments. Also, it might lose its magnetism if the magnet is heated near the Curie point. Thus, take care of these conditions during operation.
  • Take precautions according to the magnet types. The rare earth magnets need a coating on the surface to prevent oxidization. Ferrite magnets should be used under lower temperatures to avoid demagnetization. Take note of different magnets’ features for better performance.

Related reading: Use of NdFeB Magnets in Mobile Phones


Permanent magnets are powerful and applied to various fields. They are quite safe for home and business if properly handled. Stanford Magnets provides different permanent magnets at competitive prices. Hope that you can find ideal magnets from our diverse products online. For more information, please check our homepage.   Reference: [1] Magnattack Corporation (n.d.). Safety in Handling Magnets. Magnattack. https://magnattack.com/safety/

About the author

Cathy Marchio

Cathy Marchio is an expert at Stanford Magnets, where she shares her deep knowledge of magnets like Neodymium and Samarium Cobalt. With a background in materials science, Cathy writes articles and guides that make complex topics easier to understand. She helps people learn about magnets and their uses in different industries, making her a key part of the company's success.

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