US CPSC: Cease Magnet Prohibition!
This petition is linked at SaveMagnets.com
Update: 88% of US Registered Voters against the ban, according to PPP.
Although it sounds like a fictitious Onion article, this is real and happening. Right now, the CPSC is attempting to ban magnet spheres from the market. If the CPSC succeeds, magnets will be harder to obtain than ammunition in the US.
To be clear, this branch of the Federal Government isn't asking for regulation in the manner similar to consumer vehicles (age 16+), tobaco (18+), rifles (18+), handguns (21+) or alcohol (21+). They are requesting that all magnet sphere distributors and retailers "immediately stop manufacturing, importing, distributing and selling all [magnet spheres]." These requests were sent even to companies (E.g. ZenMagnets, Magnicube) that have never had ingestion incidents. Major retailers such as Amazon and eBay have already agreed to remove all magnet spheres from their site due to these CPSC requests.
Recently, Zen Magnets and Buckyballs received unusually harsh Administrative complaint lawsuits as well. According to the New York Times, "the action involving Buckyballs and Zen Magnets is unusual because the safety commission rarely files an administrative complaint, which is essentially a request for a mandatory recall." The complaint against Zen Magnets also marks the first administrative complaint filed against a company with no record of injury, in the history of the CPSC.
Of over 2 million sets of Buckyballs sold in the past 3 years, there have been less than two dozen injuries. Buckyballs has always featured an ingestion warning. The CPSC estimates 1700 ingestion incidents of "magnet sets" from 2009-2011. Yes, nearly as many injuries were present from "magnet sets" for the 3 years prior to magnet sets on the market, using the same estimation methodology.
For some perspective, on average 5 American children a day will die daily from choking on food, (hot dogs are a known choking hazard, and don't require warnings.) 30 children will drown in buckets every year in the US. And there have been more American skate board deaths in 2011, than magnet sphere injuries in the 3 years following 2011 . There are many more products that shouldn't be handled by children, and cause far more injuries that CPSC doesn't take issue with.
The CPSC is a necessary organization in the protection of consumers. But by pushing for an unfair ban that's drastically inconsistent with the hazards of other products, the CPSC wastes federal tax dollars, and dilutes the strength, power, and reputation of their organization. Not only do they endanger a product with proven educational, therapeutic and artistic benefits, they endanger your rights and liberties. The CPSC has the power to immediately stop targeting the magnet sphere industry, and if thousands of Americans voiced their concerns, they would be forced to listen.
The CPSC may have the best intentions in trying to protect kids, but a one size fits all ban is not the right way to go about it. Just as is the case with firearms, swimming pools, and balloons, the solution to the safety problem is education and not prohibition. When it comes to product safety, every one of the links is responsible: companies, parents, children.
This is why I am petitioning the US CPSC to *retract the stop-sale and recall requests of magnet spheres.* I hope you will join me. Your comments will also be included with the delivery of the final petition.
- Shihan Qu, Zen Magnets Gallery Curator
A retail prohibition of magnet spheres is not the proper reaction to the misuse of high powered magnets. A broken product should be taken off the shelves, but magnet spheres are not defective, and do not need to be taken off the market. They just need to be out of the mouths of children.
Consumer safety is an important duty, and it is truly regrettable that despite product warnings, there have been dozens of injuries due to child ingestion out of the millions of magnet sphere sets sold in the past three years. However, just as is the case with firearms, swimming pools, and balloons, the solution to the safety problem is education and not prohibition or intimidation.
Federal regulation ASTM F963 clearly states that magnets must be labeled 8+ for strong magnetic science kits, and 14+ for strong magnetic toys. All magnet sphere manufacturers already comply with this regulation. The CPSC's assertion of hazard against the magnet sphere industry is also inconsistent with other existing dangers. For example, 100,000 trampoline injuries will require an ER visit in the United States, and 30 children a year drown in buckets.
I am calling for the public reversal of requests made by the CPSC to remove magnet spheres from the retail market. When it comes to product safety, every one of the links is responsible: companies, parents, children.