Ingestion of high-powered, rare earth magnets (or neodymium magnets) represents a growing child health safety threat. About half of all children who swallow these super strong magnets will require surgery for removal, and roughly a one-third will suffer bowel perforations. Others will suffer severe injury with life-long complications.
On September 24, 2014, the Consumer Product Safety Commission approved new federal safety standards for high-powered magnets. Those standards will take effect in 2015. NASPGHAN has an important role to play in educating the public, including elected officials, as well as health care professionals about the hazards that rare earth magnets pose to children.
NASPGHAN members are urged to report magnet ingestions, including past cases, to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). HIPAA permits covered entities to disclose protected health information without patient authorization to a public health authority authorized by law to receive such information for the purpose of public health surveillance and investigations. Like the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CPSC is a public health authority.