Consumer Reports cautions parents about magnetic balls back on market

Powerful magnets are strong enough to perforate intestines if swallowed

SAN ANTONIO – Consumer Reports is again warning parents about super-strong magnet sets that are back on the market after a federal court overturned a 2014 ban.

Braylon Jordan was nearly 2 years old in 2012 when he swallowed eight tiny magnets. Their powerful force perforated his intestine, most of which had to be surgically removed. He still gets most of his nutrition intravenously.

Braylon was among thousands of people, mostly children, who ended up in emergency rooms with magnet injuries before the ban.

Dr. Adam Noel, one of Braylon's doctors, said he believes that the ban dramatically lowered the number of magnetic ball injuries.

"We see the injuries very rarely right now, maybe one or two cases a year," Noel said.

Late last year, prompted by a petition filed by Zen Magnets, a panel of federal judges voted 2-1 to rescind the ban. The founder of Zen Magnets maintains that the product is not a toy for children and is "perfectly safe when properly used." There are also prominent warnings about injuries on the website and the packaging.

While the magnet sets are legal, Consumer Reports maintains that they are dangerous and warns parents to use extreme caution.

"The magnets are so strong that if they are swallowed, they can pull together with enough force to punch holes along different sections of the digestive tract," said Ellen Kunes, health editor of Consumer Reports. "We recommend that you avoid having these magnet sets if there are any children in the home."

Braylon is now a happy first-grader, but he will deal with serious medical issues for the rest of his life.

Consumer Reports said anyone who has had strong magnet sets in the past should look for and throw away any magnets that might have gotten loose to protect children and teens.

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