By: Jessica Yee
Health Canada is currently investigating reports of the safety dangers associated with small magnetic beads, manufactured and distributed as an adult novelty. According to officials, when these small magnetic beads are ingested into the body they maintain the ability to attract to one another. Once inside the body, if not removed in time, surgically or otherwise, the beads may tear through the stomach or intestinal lining causing serious damage or in the most severe of cases death.
The concern is focused on the increasing number of reports of young children consuming the magnetic beads both purposefully and unintentionally. But young children are not the only group being harmed by these magnetic beads. Reports indicate that a majority of the reported cases are adolescents because they are using the magnets on braces or to mimic facial piercings, which are resulting in accidental ingestion. Health Canada warns that these beads are not a product for children.
Officials are now out in the field visiting toy stores and other institutions that sell the magnetic beads looking at how the product is being marketed. The purpose is to ensure that these magnetic beads are not marketed in such a way that children are the targeted consumer.
Health Canada appears to be taking its cue from the U.S. who recently ordered the cessation of production of the magnetic beads after an Oregon toddler swallowed 37 magnets causing tears in her stomach and intestinal linings. The U.S. manufacturer of Buckyballs, powerful ball shaped magnets, Maxfield & Oberton, are not holding back their opposition to the cease production order. They recently ran a campaign known as “save our balls” attacking the “overzealous regulators”.