Entries in Ingested (4)


Tiny Batteries Causing Big Health Problems for Kids

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The small coin-sized batteries found in many toys, electronics and singing greeting cards could be life-threatening in children.

An analysis released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Consumer Product Safety Commission found 14 children who are aged 13 and under have died, and more than 40,000 have been injured, from small batteries.

Scott Wolfson, director of communications for the CPSC, called these batteries a “serious hazard.”

“There is growing attention to this hazard and an increase in the number of fatalities,” Wolfson said. “Today, more of these small batteries are being used in products such as remote controls, greeting cards, flashlights and CPSC is seeing children getting access to those batteries.”

Statistics in the report appear to support Wolfson’s argument that these cases are on the rise.

Of the 14 deaths reported between 1997-2010, half were reported in 2009-2010 and 72 percent of emergency department (ED) visits throughout 1995-2010 were among children aged 4 and under.

Part of what makes these ingestions so dangerous is by the time symptoms like severe abdominal pain or vomiting appear, burns, ulcers and severe damage to the esophagus or gut have likely already occurred.

“That’s what’s so scary about these, you can get damage so quickly,” said Alison Tothy, director of pediatric emergency medicine at the University of Chicago. “But how many parents bring their kids to the emergency department for a little belly pain, but 8, 12, 14 hours later they are still having belly pain and starting to vomit…and there is even more damage that has been done because the battery has sat there for 24 hours.”

She said it’s important to bring children in right away if you think they swallowed something.

“The window of opportunity to get those out before they cause damage is pretty small,” she said. “It’s usually within four hours a battery can cause damage.”

A May study in Pediatrics showed similar findings.  Children being taken to emergency departments with battery ingestions have increased -- with more than 65,000 ED visits involving kids 18 and under between 1990-2009.

“We live in a world designed by adults for the convenience of adults, and the safety of children is often not considered,” said Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and author of the May study.

Smith found ED visits doubled from 2,591 visits in 1990 to 5,525 in 2009 and the number of button batteries swallowed by children also doubled.

Chairman for the CPSC, Inez Moore Tenenbaum, has called on major manufacturers of button and coin-cell batteries to address the safety of their products and wants to see safety standards in place to address the problem.

Wolfson says the changes can’t come soon enough.

“We want these products that use button cells to be designed in a way that children can never get access to them,” Wolfson said. “We believe that there can be innovations in both the way the battery is made and how it is used in various products.”

In the 1980s, toys and other children’s products were required to secure tiny batteries so kids can’t get to them.

A bill introduced last year by Sen. Jay Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va., would require all products with button batteries to be childproof.

The CPSC said parents should never let kids play with batteries and take caution to make sure they are disposed of properly.

If you think your child swallowed a battery call the national batteries ingest hotline, 202-625-3333, or the national universal poison control hotline, 1-800-222-1222.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Three-Year-Old Ingests 37 Magnets

ABC News(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- An Oregon 3-year-old is recovering after she ingested 37 Buckyball earth magnets.

Payton Bushnell had complained to her parents about stomach pain, Oregon's KPTV reported. At first, Aaron and Kelli Bushnell thought their child simply had a stomachache, but her symptoms continued, and an X-ray at the hospital finally revealed a circular grouping of magnets in her stomach.

The magnets reportedly snapped Payton's intestines together, punched one hole in her stomach and three in her intestine, according to KPTV. Payton's parents say she may have mistaken the small metallic balls as edible toppings they often use to decorate cupcakes.

Physicians at Children's Hospital in Portland rushed Payton into surgery and she is now making a full recovery.

The Bushnells did not immediately return ABC News' requests for comment.

"If we had any idea what those magnets could have done to our daughter's intestines I would have never had them in our house, " Kelli Bushnell told KPTV.

People tend to experience flu-like symptoms within a couple days of ingesting the magnets.

The problem with children and teenagers accidentally ingesting high-powered magnets has been on the rise in recent years, said Kim Dulic, a spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission. And most of the magnets are so small that it's difficult to notice if one or two go missing in a sofa or on the floor.

"The popularity of these products are growing, and it's resulting in an increasing amount of incidents," said Dulic.

One incident of ingesting magnets was reported in 2009, seven in 2010 and 14 through October 2011. The ages of these cases ranged from 18 months to 15 years old, and 11 required surgical removal of the magnets.

"We want parents to be aware of the danger associated with these innocent-looking magnets," CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said at the time the report was released. "The potential for serious injury and death if multiple magnets are swallowed demands that parents and medical professionals be aware of this hidden hazard and know how to treat a child in distress."

In response to the increasing number of accidental ingestions, Craig Zucker, CEO of Maxfield and Oberton, the manufacturer of Buckyballs, said, "High-powered magnets, such as Buckyballs, are products for adult use only and should be kept away from all children."

And since magnetic tongue rings and lip piercings in which two high-powered magnets sit on both sides of the lip or tongue have also become more popular in recent years, teenagers are also at particular risk, the CPSC warns.

Button-size batteries, found in remote controls, toys, calculators and bathroom scales, have also become a hot spot of contention because of the increasing number of accidental ingestions.

"The difference between magnets and these batteries is that you can see symptoms within two hours of swallowing them," said Dulic. "It burns the esophagus and it can start soon after."

"We want to continue to get the message out about these products and the dangers associated with them," said Dulic. "If parents believe their child has swallowed magnets, they should bring them to the doctor immediately."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Man Swallows Stolen Wedding Ring

Cicero Police Department(CHICAGO) -- In an attempt to make off with a diamond wedding ring that he'd snatched from a couple's home, a Chicago man swallowed the evidence before it could be retrieved by its owner, according to police.

Wilfredo Gonzalez, 30, was working on a remodeling project on Aug. 5 for a Cicero, Ill., couple when he asked to use the bathroom at their home. When he returned, the wife noticed that her diamond ring was missing, and her husband confronted Gonzalez. The two got into a "tussle," according to Cicero Police Department spokesman Ray Hannania.

"The suspect pulled the ring from inside his shoe, held it in his hand to keep it away from the owners and then swallowed it," said Hannania. When police arrived, Gonzalez was read his Miranda rights and confessed to stealing the ring.

"They told him that swallowing the ring could be dangerous, so he agreed to an X-ray," said Hannania. Gonzalez was taken to a local hospital, where X-rays revealed the diamond wedding ring, valued at $1,600, inside his stomach.

The suspect was then transported to jail, where he was put in a rubber-room lockup equipped with bed pans. "He was given medication to help make this transition easier and delivered the ring early [on Aug. 8] around 4 a.m.," said Hannania.

Police then recovered the ring, and returned it to the couple.

"We were glad we were able to get the ring back for the woman. It was her wedding ring, was pretty large and it was important to them," he said.

According to the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Gonzalez has been charged with felony theft and faces up to three years in prison should he be convicted.

Gonzalez appeared in court Aug. 9 for a hearing where his bail was set at $10,000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Cadmium Found in Cheap Jewelry Exceeds Safe Limit

Liquidlibrary/Thinkstock(ASHLAND, Ohio) -- Cadmium found in cheap pieces of jewelry could expose consumers to more than the amount considered to be safe if the chemical is ingested or makes contact with one's mouth, according to a new study released Friday.

Researchers at Ashland University measured the amount of cadmium present in 69 pieces of jewelry, imported primarily from China and sold for about $5 each. They found that some of the pieces, if placed in the mouth or swallowed, could release as much as 100 times the recommended maximum limit for cadmium.

The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, highlights the recent concern of the dangers of cadmium in children's jewelry, especially items imported from China.  Dangerous effects of ingested cadmium include kidney, bone, lung, and liver disease.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio