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‘Super-Magnets’ Pose Rising Threat to Kids, Study Finds

Posted October 29, 2013

Powerful “super-magnets” found in adult desk toys and other novelty items still trigger many emergency-room visits after children swallow them, according to a new report, even though some products with these magnets have been recalled.

“These ingestions have increased over the past three to five years,” said study researcher Dr. Daniel Rosenfield, a pediatric resident at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children, in Canada.

At the hospital, Rosenfield’s team looked back at the records involving about 2,700 ingestion incidents from 2001 through 2012. They found that 94 involved magnets, with ingestion of multiple magnets increasing the most in the last three years of the study.

These neodymium-iron-boron magnets became popular about that time, sold in toys, jewelry and other novelty items, including desk toys used for fun and stress relief by adults. These desk toys include magnetic marbles and magnetic sculpting balls.

Rosenfield is scheduled to report the findings Sunday at an American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in Orlando, Fla.

Although recalls are in place for some of these products in both the United States and Canada, many of the items are still in circulation or available online, Rosenfield said. Many parents, as well as teachers and others, remain unaware of the dangers of these magnets, he said.

“The problems with these multiple magnets is, if you ingest more than one at a different point in time, they can attract [each other] across loops of the gut, causing pressure to build up,” Rosenfield said.

Read more at: MedlinePlus

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