Calls to poison centers about high-powered magnets increased by 444% after the ban was lifted

The findings reflect the urgent need to protect children through preventive efforts and government action

(Columbus, Ohio) – High-energy magnets are small, brilliant magnets made of powerful rare earth metals. Since they began appearing in children’s games in the early 2000s and then later in office sets in 2009, high-powered magnets have caused thousands of injuries and are among the most serious risks of ingestion in children.

When more than one is swallowed, these high-energy magnets are attracted to each other through the tissues, cutting off the blood supply to the intestine and causing obstructions, tissue necrosis, sepsis and even death. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found it dangerous enough that in 2012 it stopped the sale of high-powered magnet sets and instituted a recall process followed by a federal rule that effectively eliminated the sale of these products. The U.S. Court of Appeals revoked this rule in December 2016.

A recent study led by researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy, Emergency Medicine, and the Central Toxicology Center in Ohio at Children’s National Hospital along with Children’s Hospital of Montefiore (CHAM) analyzed calls to US poison centers for magnet exposure in infants. 19 years or younger from 2008 through October 2019 to determine the impact of the CPSC and the subsequent lifting of the ban.

The study was recently published in Pediatrics Journal, Found that the average number of cases per year decreased by 33% from 2012 to 2017 after high-power magnet sets were removed from the market. When the ban was lifted and high-powered magnet sets returned to the market, the average number of cases increased annually by 444%. There was also a 355% increase in the number of cases that were severe enough to require hospitalization. Cases of 2018 and 2019 increased in all age groups and accounted for 39% of magnet cases since 2008.

Said Leah Middelburg, MD, lead author of Nationwide Children’s Study and Emergency Medicine Physician. “Parents don’t always know if their child swallowed something or what they swallowed – they only know their child is uncomfortable – so when babies are brought in, an examination and sometimes X-rays are required to determine what is happening. Because damage from a magnet can be Dangerously, it is very important to keep these types of magnets out of children’s reach, and ideally outside the home. ”

The study found a total of 5,738 magnet exposures during the approximately 12-year study period. Most calls were to male children (55%), younger than six years old (62%), with unintended injury (84%). Almost half (48.4%) of the patients were treated in a hospital or other healthcare facility while 48.7% were managed in a non-healthcare location such as home, workplace, or school. Children in the older age groups were more likely than younger children to be hospitalized.

“While many cases do occur among young children, parents should be aware that high-strength magnets pose a risk to teens as well,” said Brian Rudolph, MD, MPH, co-lead author of the study and a gastroenterologist at CHAM. Serious injuries can occur when teens use these products to mimic tongue or lip piercing. If there are children or teens living in your home or visiting it frequently, do not purchase these products. If you have a high-powered magnet in your home, throw it away. The risk of serious injury is very great. “

“The significant increases in magnet injuries are consistent with the time periods in which high-power magnet sets have been sold, including a 444% increase since 2018,” Middelberg said. Rudolph stressed that “these data reflect the urgent need to protect children through preventive measures and government measures.” Middelberg and Rudolph both support federal legislation, the Magnet Injury Prevention Act, which would limit the strength and / or size of magnets sold as part of a kit, as well as reinstate federal CPSC safety standards that would effectively restrict the sale of these products. Magnetism in the United States


Data for this study were obtained from the National Poison Data System, maintained by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC). AAPCC receives data about calls to regional poison control centers that serve the United States and its territories. Poison control centers receive phone calls through the Poison Help Line and document information about the product in question, route of exposure, one-on-one exhibition, medical findings, and other data.

The Center for Injury Research and Policy (CIRP) of the Abigail Wexner Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital works globally to reduce child mortality and injury-related disabilities. With innovative research at its core, CIRP is continuously improving scientific understanding of epidemiology, biomechanics, prevention, acute treatment, and rehabilitation of injuries. CIRP acts as a pioneer by translating the latest in injury research into education, policy and advances in clinical care. To obtain relevant injury prevention materials or to learn more about CIRP, visit http: // www.injury.Deer. Follow CIRP on Twitter @CIRPatNCH.

The Central Ohio Poison Center provides state-of-the-art poison prevention, assessment, and treatment to residents of 64 of the 88 counties in Ohio. The center’s services are available to the public, medical professionals, industry, and human services agencies. The Poison Center handles more than 42,000 poison exposure calls annually, and confidential and free emergency poisoning treatment advice is available 24/7. To find out more about the Poison Center, visit http: // www.bepoisonsmart.Deer.


Middelberg, LK, Funk, AR, Hays, HL, McKenzie, LB, Rudolph, B., & Spiller, HA (2021). Magnet injuries in children: an analysis of the National Poison Data System 2008-2019. Pediatrics Journal0 (0).
https: //Resonate.Deer /10.1016 /J.jpeds.2021.01.052

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