Lifestyle & Belief

Doctors say that kids still eating dangerous magnets


Doctors say that too many kids are still eating magnets, which is dangerous to their health.


Toshifumi Kitamura

Kids still love to swallow high-powered magnets warned doctors in a new survey.

Magnets have been swallowed by at least 480 children in the US in the past decade and 80 percent of those cases required intrusive endoscopic procedures or surgery.

HealthDay reported that half of those magnet ingestion occurred in children between the ages 1 and 6.

The results come from a survey done by the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN).

The survey asked 350 pediatric gastroenterologists for information on the prevalence of magnet swallowing among children.

The magnets in question are mainly those used as desk toys, including the popular brand Buckyballs, which was sued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission over the swallow risk to young children.

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Buckyballs has refused to stop selling their products but has put warning labels on all packaging.

“As a company we’ve really been trying to do the right thing and sell the product in the right marketplace and environment,” Andrew Frank, a spokesman for the company told CNN.

“To say that this many injuries or incidents means that it should be taken off the market, it’s a difficult assessment about warning labels.”

High-power magnets can do serious damage to the body's inner organs, say doctors.

They have been reported to tear holes through the stomach and bowel, said HealthDay.

"Ingesting two or more of these super-strength magnets is unlike swallowing a marble or other small foreign body," said Athos Bousvaros, NASPGHAN president, in a statement.

"Damage from these magnets begins soon after ingestion. When the intestinal wall separates two or more magnets that attract each other, holes in the bowel can occur.

The results of the study were presented at a press conference Tuesday.