Magnets Hearing: Let Us Hear From You

The CPSC has scheduled a hearing on October 22, 2013, to hear from the public about the pending proposed rule to ban small, powerful magnets. The hearing will take place at the CPSC headquarters in Bethesda, MD. To present oral comments at the meeting, send your request, along with the text of your comments, to cpsc-os@cpsc.gov.  You can find more information through the draft Federal Register notice here. Folks who wish to be heard should contact the agency by October 15th.

This hearing is required by Section 9 of the Consumer Product Safety Act which sets the procedures for the agency to issue many of its safety standards and bans (many of the CPSIA-mandated rules do not require this kind of public input.)

This issue presents troubling and conflicting concerns for the agency.  Obviously, the injuries that occur when toddlers swallow these small powerful magnets are of great concern to us. We have heard from many doctors about the serious nature of these injuries. On the other hand, this product is made and sold for adults, is extremely popular, and is being safety used by those it was intended for. Banning a product because unintended users are being injured through misuse is a serious and fairly novel undertaking for this agency.

This rulemaking also presents some troublesome process issues—issues of the agency’s own making. Separately, the Commission brought an administrative action against manufacturers that refused our request to recall a product that would be covered under the proposed rule. One cannot help but wonder how the rulemaking will impact the administrative litigation—both as a matter of law and as a matter of fact.

These are all important and interesting questions for the Commission to grapple with. I am looking forward to hearing what the public thinks on Oct. 22.

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2 Responses to “Magnets Hearing: Let Us Hear From You”


  1. 1 jgharris7 October 3, 2013 at 7:55 am

    These magnets are great desk toys. Because we should not expect consumers to be expert chemists or engineers, the CPSC can play a valuable role; however, this magnet ban is a serious case of overreach. In most other cases, the products banned can be made safer or replaced by a safer product; or they are unsafe when used as intended.

    In the case of the magnets, the strength of the magnets enables the buckyballs to have a unique behavior we can’t otherwise obtain. This allows the packs of buckyballs to provide a form of enjoyment and self expression that cannot be just replaced by going to another product.

    The only problem with the ones on my desk is they are addictive. I just ordered a 10 pack of them (2160 magnets) from China.

    [moderator–you can delete the prior version of this comment–it did not paste correctly.]

  2. 2 jgharris7 October 3, 2013 at 7:48 am

    hese magnets are great desk toys. Because we should not expect consumers to be expert chemists or engineers, the CPSC can play a valuable role; however, this magnet ban is a serious case of overreach.

    The magnets form a unique desk-toy. The hazard is quite obvious–you shouldn’t swallow them. They are a great medium for artistic expression.

    The only problem with the ones on my desk is they are addictive. I just ordered a 10 pack of them (2160 magnets) from China.


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