Staff from the American College of Surgeons Division of Advocacy and Health Policy recently attended a Magnet Safety Stakeholder Meeting at the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The group convened to address the growing number of injuries experienced by children and teens who swallow multiple high-powered, rare-earth magnets. According to studies, 10 to 20 percent of such magnet ingestions require endoscopic retrieval; approximately 1 percent require surgical intervention after multiple magnets attract inside the body causing obstruction or perforation.
Rare-earth magnets are marketed to adults as "desk toys," but according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), neither warning labels nor voluntary recall efforts have been effective in preventing ingestion in children. The CPSC recently proposed banning certain high-powered magnet sets due to the unreasonable risk of injury.
While most manufacturers have complied with voluntary recalls, some argue that the current safety warnings on packaging and websites are sufficient, and a safety ban is unwarranted. Comments on this proposed rule are due by November 19 to the CPSC.
To view additional information or to submit comments, go to www.cpsc.gov/info/magnets/index.html.
The North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition has also set up a Facebook page with supplementary information.
Surgeons who have been asked to treat magnet ingestion may report cases to the CPSC.
Do you have experience with cases of magnet ingestion that have required surgical intervention? If you have expertise in this area, contact Matthew Coffron at firstname.lastname@example.org.