Thursday, February 28, 2008

Where is the "don't eat metal" warning?

Have just received a press release saying that a new bit of EU regulation will be coming in for toys that have magnets on them. Apparently it will be warning that magnets are presents and will say,
"Warning! This toy contains magnets or magnetic components. Magnets sticking together or becoming attached to a metallic object inside the human body can cause serious or fatal injury. Seek immediate medical help if magnets are swallowed or inhaled."
Two things. First how the hell does one go about inhaling a magnet? Second, if magnets are dangerous because they might stick to a "metallic object inside the human body" where is the regulation saying "Warning, do not put metallic objects inside the human body"?

I probably shouldn't have said that I'll give someone an idea. Maybe they could put up those sort of warnings in operating theatres because the only time I can think when someone would have a metallic object in their body would be if some incompetent surgeon accidentally left his scissors behind. Next week a new regulation is coming in that will say "Warning! This toy contains a toy."

On a related note, should anyone fancy buying me a present I really want these.

15 comments:

ianvisits said...

Those magnets are N40 grade, for N45 grade, try http://www.unitednuclear.com/magnets.htm ;)

Incidentally, that same company sell quanties of Polonium-210, which officals investigating the Litvinenko murder would have us believe is only available from highly classified Russian nuclear plants and is not at all easy to get hold of.

Unless of course you have a credit card and an internet connection.

Anonymous said...

Some kids swallow all sorts of stuff.

If they swallow a few magnets (or some metal and a magnet) it's especially dangerous as they can clamp together accross intestines and get stuck, unlike most stuff that passes straight through.

It's seriously injured and killed children in the past.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/world/view/20080228-121817/EU-seeks-safety-warning-on-all-magnetic-toys

dizzy said...

So have trees

JuliaM said...

"I probably shouldn't have said that I'll give someone an idea."

Not to mention getting you a few dodgy hits on Google!

Morus said...

I think they probably had pacemakers and heart-valves in mind, as opposed to the staples and paperclips that kids eat...

Mike H said...

Polonium 210 via PayPal !!

And I thought it was a joke...

BrianSJ said...

Well, ianvisits has ruined production for the day; great site.
The magnets on united nuclear definitely need health warnings, however, I remember 'achtung magnet' being on German toy boxes from a very long time ago with very weak magnets, so it could well be based on some old superstition rather than the evidence base building here.

Anonymous said...

Do you have kids, Dizzy?

Unsworth said...

Well I've been snorting magnets for years now. Never did me any harm, although I do have an enhanced attraction to street furniture. Doctor tells me I've got very mild polar or bi-polar disorder.

opposites attract said...

On the serious side Dizzy it does seem that a couple of magnets in the gut can close the gut.

Perhaps our Euromasters can make the swallowing of non food objects illegal and if so then UK could put culprits on the national DNA database.

dizzy said...

Yes anon, I have a three year old who, topically enough, informed me last night about the magnets on a toy telling me that it meant Thomas could pull Annie, and Annie could connect to Clarabelle.

Tim J said...

Wait a minute:

"magnets sticking together...can cause serious or fatal injury"?

How?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

I shoved a small metal object up my nose when I was four. Took the surgeon twenty minutes to get it out. Had I shoved a magnet up the other nostril I would have been in serious trouble.

Benedict White said...

Dizzy, The problem is that parents these days assume that no toy can be dangerous. The solution is to warn parents that if children are playing with magnets of this streangth they should make sure that none are missing. This applies more so when older children are playing with them and may leave one or two out by accident to be swallowed by todlers.

That said older children have also swallowed them. In that sense I agree that in an ideal world manufacturers should make parents aware. That said, whether some regulation is the right answer is another matter.

On the subject of obtaining neodimium magnets, I have some from old hard drives. Why not strip some out yourself?

Benedict White said...

Tim J "
"magnets sticking together...can cause serious or fatal injury"?

How?"

If they stick together in the intestines, which Neodimium magnets will do if swallowed (you do need more than 1) then then can pinch between two parts of the gut, stopping themselves moving for a start and also because they are so powerfull they pull themselves together through the lining of the intestine making a hole in each. Not good. If not treated, that will cause death.