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Feds warn of dangers posed by magnetic desk toys

How often have you kept a desktop toy or stress reliever at your workplace to break up the monotony of a stressful workday? Many of us have. Most of us don't think of desk toys and stress relievers as being anything but positive. According to recent reports, however, some novelties made from magnets that are sitting on desktops throughout Georgia may be dangerous products in disguise.

Federal regulators are warning consumers of the dangers in magnetized stress and desktop toys. Although marketed to adults, these marble-shaped products are attractive to children and can pose hazards to them.

The magnets found in these desk toys are extremely dangerous if swallowed. Unlike other objects that can pass through a child's system, magnets can attract to each other inside of the body and pinch tissue. This can cause a myriad of health problems, including holes in the stomach, intestinal blockage and blood poisoning.

These health issues can cause severe injury and can even be fatal. Parents may not even know that a child has ingested the product until it is too late. Unfortunately, that's when serious injuries are most likely to occur.

In the past two years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported 17 incidents of magnet ingestion. More than 10 of these cases involved surgery to remove the magnetic products.

Young children have been injured by swallowing small magnets in play sets. Older children and teens have suffered injury by using magnets in place of piercings.

Be aware that many types of magnetized products marketed to adults can be dangerous to your children.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Regulators warn of magnets marketed as desk toys, stress relievers," Ellen Gabler, Nov. 10, 2011

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