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Today's safer pull tabs may not be that safe after all, radiologists say

December 1, 2009 | 12:07 pm

Cokepepsi Remember the old soda-can pull tabs? What fun it was, snapping them off. (They were quite good fun to flick at people too, if I recall correctly.) But then those safety killjoys came along and urged a redesign, citing risks of ingestion. Manufacturers, partly for that reason and partly for others, such as cutting down on litter, invented the new kind that stay on the can after you open it.

Except not always, according to a report at the Radiological Society of North America. Dr. Lane F. Donnelly of Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and colleagues documented 19 cases of "inadvertent stay-tab ingestion" over 16 years. (Most of the kids were teens, apparently, and only four were under 5, so I guess the word "inadvertent" does apply.) These finds may be the tip of the iceberg, they say, because the tabs aren't that easy to see with X-rays. They suggest tab design should be reexamined.

Read a write-up of the study at WebMD. And here's the RSNA release. 

-- Rosie Mestel

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