The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued its first ever warning about the danger that magnets pose to children. According to the CDC, the number of reported magnet-related incidents is up from last year, and some of the incidents had serious consequences.
Powerful ball-bearing magnets, which are often used in desk toys or stress-reducing products, are the CDC's greatest concern. The agency has received 14 reports of problems with magnets so far this year, which is up from seven reports last year and one in 2009. If two or more magnets are swallowed, they can attract one another, leading to serious injuries such as intestinal blockages, blood poisoning, and small holes in the stomach or intestines.
Symptoms can appear similar to a cold or the flu, and it often takes several trips to the doctor to determine the cause. In addition to posing a risk to young children, teens use the magnets to imitate body piercings and accidentally swallow them.