NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A New Orleans pediatric gastroenterologist has won a national award for his research on the dangers posed to children by tiny, powerful rare earth magnets and his work that led to a recall of desk sets of such magnets.
The American Academy of Pediatrics presented Dr. R. Adam Noel with the 2013 Outstanding Achievement Award last Sunday, during its annual meeting. He was one of two recipients.
Noel is a doctor at Children’s Hospital and an associate professor at the LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans School of Medicine.
After treating several children who had swallowed magnets, he did a nationwide study that found a dramatic increase in such cases.
Six retailers recalled the magnet sets in April. The Consumer Product Safety Commission said they were not just a danger to small children but to teenagers who use them to mimic tongue, lip or cheek piercings. If accidentally swallowed or inhaled, the magnets can pinch internal tissue, causing infection or even death.
Noel’s work also led to similar studies in Canada and abroad.
The CPSC filed a rare legal complaint against New York-based importer Maxfield & Oberton because it refused to participate in the recall. The company has since gone out of business but many of the products are likely still in homes and offices. They were sold as a desktop toy that can be molded into different shapes.
The CPSC said 3 million sets of the magnets have been sold since 2010.