Mini-magnets, like Buckeyballs, are growing in popularity, even as doctors and consumer advocates ask that they be taken off store shelves. Officials say that young children are coming in contact with the magnets and swallowing them, creating a potentially deadly scenario.
Recently, a pediatric specialty group called for a complete ban of the magnets, citing a recent study that shows the number of injuries associated with the mini-magnets has doubled in the past year. The study, which looked at more than 123 cases of children swallowing mini-magnets, found that nearly 30 percent of the cases required surgery and over 50 percent involved a patient between the ages of 1 and 6.
When children ingest two or more of these magnets, they can magnetize through the intestinal wall, possibly creating punctures, blockages, and twisting in the intestine. They can also cause infections, blood poisoning, and in some cases, death.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has already filed a lawsuit to stop the production and sale of Buckeyball mini-magnets.