The federal government brands magnets in toys a baleful hazard to accouchement because the tiny, able altar can abatement out and account serious, alike fatal, centralized injuries back swallowed.
Yet the Customer Artefact Assurance Bureau has not taken accomplish to adapt alike added able magnets back they are awash in afar anatomy as backings on children’s earrings, the Tribune has found.
The earrings abide of a baby adorning allotment — such as a cupcake, a faux diamond, a dolphin — with a allurement inside. They are captivated in abode by putting a afar allurement abaft the earlobe.
Independent tests of added than a dozen alluring earrings done for the Tribune showed that the adornment magnets all were at atomic as able as magnets begin central toys that accept acquired the afterlife of one adolescent and array of added injuries. Some of the alluring earrings were added than bristles times added powerful.
But because the earrings are not advised toys, new regulations for magnets do not apply. If they did, the adornment could not be accurately sold, according to a CPSC spokesman, Scott Wolfson.
The Tribune begin letters of added than two dozen instances in the U.S. and Europe in contempo years area magnets from earrings accept been swallowed, aspirated into the lungs or become ashore calm on either ancillary of a child’s adenoids cartilage. Those youngsters had acclimated the earrings to actor nose, argot and alike axis piercings.
Most of these injuries did not aftereffect in hospitalizations. But, accustomed the antecedent of austere injuries acquired by magnets in toys, some arch physicians are apprehensive why the CPSC is not demography activity anyway.
“It’s bright what the risks of magnets are,” said Dr. Garry Gardner, a physician from burghal Darien who is administrator of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ board on injury, abandon and adulteration prevention. “I don’t affliction whether they alarm it a toy or not, these are still a risk. Any allurement that can be aspirated or swallowed is dangerous.”
But the CPSC says it has not accustomed abundant letters of injuries affiliated to magnets in adornment to accreditation added activity at this time. The agency’s civic abrasion database shows there were seven such incidents from 2002 to 2004 and none in the afterward two years. (Data for 2007 are unavailable.) One adventure in 2003 appropriate the child, a 2-year-old boy, to be hospitalized.
“The cardinal of incidents compared to the cardinal of articles is actual low,” said Julie Vallese, backer for the CPSC. “The accepted accident has not risen to a abundant artefact hazard.”
But alike a toy industry official bidding affair about the jewelry.
“We should not accept to delay for adverse incidents to abode it,” said Arthur Kazianis, carnality admiral of affection affirmation for Hasbro Inc. and the arch of a clandestine console that is developing standards for magnets in toys.
For years the CPSC had accustomed letters of accouchement afflicted afterwards burning magnets that fell out of toys, but not until a adolescent died in 2005 afterwards ingesting magnets from a Magnetix architecture set did the bureau move to anamnesis the artefact and advance for tougher standards. Afterward a Tribune analysis of Magnetix and the agency’s apathetic response, appear in May, the CPSC broadcast its anamnesis and in August added magnets as No. 1 on its account of top bristles “home hazards.” Its account absolution acclaimed that such magnets “can be actual baby and able authoritative them accepted in toys, architecture sets, and jewelry.” But that’s as far as the bureau has gone to abode alluring jewelry.
In that release, the CPSC additionally acclaimed that injuries from ingesting magnets are “hard to diagnose. Parents and physicians may anticipate that the abstracts will canyon through the adolescent afterwards consequence, but magnets can allure in the anatomy and aberration or compression the intestines, causing holes, blockages, infection, and death, if not advised appropriately and promptly.”
Doctor: ‘It is a hazard’
Dr. Marsha Kay, a pediatric gastroenterologist at The Cleveland Clinic who has accounting about the dangers of magnets, said she considers alluring earrings to be as big a blackmail to adolescent assurance as magnets in toys.
“These things are marketed for kids, and it is a hazard,” she said. “How abounding kids accept to get aching afore accession pays absorption to it?”
Just as with alluring toys, Kay said, a crisis is that beforehand accouchement will comedy with the artefact and leave abaft magnets that adolescent accouchement can swallow.
A new industry accepted demography aftereffect aing ages calls for admonishing labels on toys that accommodate magnets and are baby abundant to be swallowed. Already, abounding alluring toys accommodate warnings about the crisis of centralized injuries. In addition, the new accepted requires all toys with magnets to abide tests to ensure the magnets won’t abatement out with approved use.
The new accepted does not administer to alluring jewelry, alike if it is marketed to children.
“Magnetic adornment has appear up and we accept talked about it, but our bureau is focused on toys,” Kazianis said. “A toy has comedy value. A allotment of adornment does not. It appears to abatement through the cracks.
“It’s accessible that the adornment industry could chase our standards for toys,” he added. “I accept afresh declared we charge to amount out a way to acquaint to them.”
Michael Gale, agent for the Appearance Adornment Trade Association, said he did not accept alluring adornment is dangerous.
“Anything that could affect the assurance of accouchement is a affair to the appearance adornment industry,” he said. “I am not acquainted of any cases of magnets associated with jewelry” causing any injuries.
The new alluring toy accepted applies to magnets that accept a “flux index,” the admeasurement of its power, of 50 and higher.
The Tribune asked Joe DiMarco, an engineering physicist at the Fermi Civic Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, to analysis the alluring earrings as able-bodied as the blazon of Magnetix toys abhorrent for the afterlife of Kenny Sweet on Thanksgiving Day 2005.
The tests showed the magnets from a Magnetix toy had a alteration basis of aloof aloft 50. The tests of the alluring earrings showed a alteration basis on all of them aloft 50, and best were aloft 100 — added than alert as able as the Magnetix.
Magnetic earrings awash by Schylling, a Massachusetts toy firm, had a alteration basis of added than 100, the Fermi tests found. The alluring earrings backpack a asthmatic admonishing for accouchement beneath age 3, but no added warnings. The adornment packaging states that they are for ages “5 .”
Schylling did not acknowledgment blast calls.
Earrings awash by Claire’s additionally activated able-bodied aloft the toy accepted of 50 and in one case was added than bristles times college than the toy standard. Claire’s did not acknowledgment calls gluttonous comment.
DiMarco acclaimed that the alteration basis increases back added than two magnets get ashore together. “If you amalgamate added than a brace of these together, you could calmly get article abundant worse.”
One brand, Magna Stud, awash by BeWild.com, carries a admonishing adjoin use by anyone beneath age 13 and warns accurately that the adornment poses “an assimilation and aspiration hazard. … Keep out of ability of infants.” The adornment additionally warns adjoin cutting added than one allurement in the nose.
Brian Cohen, buyer of BeWild.com, said he had never noticed the admonishing until the Tribune brought it to his attention. “Somebody capital to accomplish abiding cipher got injured,” he said. “Anything baby like this should be kept abroad from kids, and magnets accomplish it worse.”
Complaints to the CPSC about alluring adornment accommodate one adventure that beatific a 2-yar-old boy to the hospital afterwards burning a alluring earring. Added incidents complex boys and girls alignment from 8 to 13 years old. One 13-year-old boy acclimated allurement adornment to actor a argot acute and swallowed the magnet. A 13-year-old babe “sniffed allurement adornment backs into nose,” according to the agency’s database.
Dangerous central nose
Dr. Anthony Magit, a pediatric otolaryngologist in California, declared how bound a adolescent can be injured.
“The magnets are adequately able and instead of aloof captivation the earrings on the alfresco of both abandon of the nose, they cull calm and get anchored in the septum and they can’t get them out,” he said. “It can appear in a day. The magnets couch into the septum and cannot be pulled apart. They are so strong, you accept to booty them to the hospital to get them removed.
“There needs to be a warning.”
The CPSC was a beforehand this year of the medical community’s apropos about magnets — in toys as able-bodied as adornment — back Dr. Alan Oestreich, a pediatric radiologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, addressed an bureau symposium.
“I emphasized that it was not aloof alluring toys, but magnets in jewelry,” he said in an interview. “I anticipate bodies should be a that this is a danger.”
Doctors aren’t the alone ones acute the CPSC to booty added action. Back U.S. PIRG, a alliance of accompaniment public-interest analysis groups, issued its 2007 toy assurance address in November, some alluring earrings were on its account of alarming products.
“Our altercation is that alluring adornment poses the aforementioned hazard to accouchement as alluring toys,” said Edmund Mierzwinski, customer affairs administrator and columnist of the report. “Just because article is not a toy does not beggarly it’s not a hazard. If it’s bargain children’s jewelry, it’s a hazard.”
That additionally is the cessation of at atomic one retailer. In the pre-Christmas blitz in 2006, Diana Nelson, buyer of Kazoo & Co. , a Denver toy store, agilely awash alluring jewelry, cogent an industry advertisement that alluring earrings were a top-selling item.
A year later, afterwards acceptable acquainted of the dangers of magnets in toys, Nelson has assured that alluring adornment should not be awash to children.
“We awash a lot of them, but back we awash out, I absitively I wouldn’t adjustment them again,” she said in a contempo interview. “They shouldn’t be anywhere a little ones.”
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