CPSC ignores public, selects nuclear option against Zen Magnets

Aug 10, 2012 – In a continued uphill war against the sale of rare-earth magnets, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has launched it’s second adminstrative complaint lawsuit of the past decade against Zen Magnets LLC on August 6, 2012. The first was issued on July 25 against Maxfield & Oberton, the distributor of Buckyballs, the leading brand of magnet spheres on the market. Zen Magnets are reputed as the high-end brand in the industry of magnet spheres that are typically used for sculpting and manipulation. The complaint against Zen Magnets also marks the very first time the CPSC is attempting to ban a product through litigation, prior to record of injury. The complaint seeks an order that the firm stop selling Zen Magnets and recall their product.

The CPSC says 11/13 firms have agreed to stop selling magnet spheres, but is quiet about the fact that the 11 hold a minority marketshare in the magnet sphere industry. Maxfield & Oberton (Buckyballs) and Zen Magnets LLC are the two firms to refuse voluntary recall of their products. Both firms have always featured ingestion warnings visible before purchase, and neither are marketed as toys.

This aggressive administrative complaint served by the CPSC follows the viral statement that Zen Magnets founder Shihan Qu made, publicly refusing the CPSC’s voluntary recall request on http://ZenMagnets.com. The statement gained an audience of fifty thousand in merely twenty four hours on reddit.com. In a forum of over six hundred comments regarding the public refusal, almost all were in support of Zen Magnets. “Man, I’ve seen some absurd actions, but trying to ban spherical magnets ranks up there.” said user inertiasbad.

However, public opinion continues to fall on deaf ears at the CPSC despite the most severe negative public reaction in the organization’s history. Commissioner Adler mentioned in a CPSC webcast on Aug 9 that he has recieved over one thousand emails from people asking why magnets are being targeted instead of higher risk products such as balloons. The consumer watchdog group, which rarely recieves public backlash, also faces a petition with over two thousand signatures at https://savemagnets.com; signers hopes to pressure the CPSC into pulling the administrative complaints against Buckyballs and Zen Magnets and retract stop-sale requests sent to manufacturers and retailers. Over forty letters have also been published on the ZenMagnets.com website, written by supporters. Additionally, Congressman Charles B. Rangel has sent a letter to Chairwoman Tenenbaum on behalf of Buckyballs, recommending the agency to take “another look at the current situation.” Shihan Qu, noted “in public forums regarding the topic, such as the comment forums of news articles, almost all public opinion is against the banning of magnets.”

If the Consumer Product Safety Commission succeeds in the Administrative Complaints against Zen Magnets and Buckyballs, rare earth magnet spheres will be more difficult to purchase than live ammunition in the US.

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