Court overturns high-powered magnet ban, health agencies frustrated: 5 key notes

A federal appeals court voted two to one to overturn a ban on the sale of tiny, high-powered magnets in the United States, Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News reports.

Here's what you should know.

1. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and several pediatric GI physicians spoke to the court about the dangers of the 5 mm magnets. The two parties were "frustrated" by the court's decision.

2. Despite ingestion risks, the commission was unable to provide substantial evidence injury would occur. The commission's data suggested "the risk of injury was a mere 'possibility.'"

3. The court ruled in favor of the magnet manufacturers because the risk of "possible" ingestion wasn't significant enough to conclude that the magnets would be harmful.

4. James E. Heubi, MD, professor of pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati and president of the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, told G&E "We're not thrilled with the decision. An organization spokesperson said, "[The ruling] doesn't change the hazards that these magnets pose. The fact that they're going to be back on the market is going to require pediatric gastroenterologist to be more vigilant."

5. If children swallow more than one magnet, they could potentially become opposed to each other. Magnet ingestion has caused fistulas, bowel loss and one death after someone swallowed the magnets.

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