Kids’ Swallowing Magnets Concerns Agency

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission plans to ban high-powered magnet desk toys because children are swallowing the magnets.
     Groups of magnets have been marketed as desk toys for entertainment, such as puzzle working, sculpture building, mental stimulation, or stress relief, since 2008, according to the CPSC.
     The agency has determined that an estimated 1,700 ingestions of magnets from magnet sets were treated in emergency departments between Jan. 1, 2009 and Dec. 31, 2011.
     The concern is that the magnetic properties may cause serious, life-threatening injuries, according to the CPSC. For example, when a child swallows two or more magnets, the magnetic forces pull the magnets together, pinching or trapping intestinal walls or other digestive tissue, resulting in acute and long-term health consequences, the agency says.
     The CPSC is proposing a rule that would prohibit magnet sets that contain a magnet that can fit within the CPSC’s “small parts cylinder,” unless the magnet is sufficiently weak (flux index of 50 or less).
     The CPSC seeks written comments on the risks of injury, the regulatory alternatives discussed in this action, other possible ways to address these risks, and the economic impacts of the regulatory alternatives.
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