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NHS calls for ban on toy neodymium magnets amid child safety fears

An online trend that involves using tiny magnets as fake tongue piercings has led the NHS to call for them to be banned amid people swallowing them.

Ingesting more than one of them can be life-threatening and cause significant damage within hours.

In England, 65 children have required urgent surgery after swallowing magnets in the last three years.

The NHS issued a patient safety alert earlier this month and is now calling for the small metal balls to be banned.

It said the "neodymium or 'super strong' rare-earth magnets are sold as toys, decorative items and fake piercings, and are becoming increasingly popular". It added that unlike traditional ones, "these 'super strong' magnets are small in volume but powerful in magnetism and easily swallowed".

The online trend sees people placing two such magnets on either side of their tongue to create the illusion that the supposed piercing is real.

But when accidentally swallowed, the small magnetic ball bearings are forced together in the intestines or bowels, squeezing the tissue so that the blood supply is cut off.

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Source: BBC News, 30 May 2021


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