Survey: Ban of Buckyballs, Zen Magnets, Projected to Damage CPSC Credibility

The CPSC attempt to ban magnet spheres, such as Zen Magnets and Buckyballs, will damage the agency’s credibility, according to a national survey by Public Polling Policy. The projection is based on telephone interviews conducted summer of 2013 among a national sample of 755 registered voters, 18 years of age or older, living in all 50 U.S. states. Within a margin of error of 3.5%, 88% of Americans are against an all-ages nation-wide ban on magnet spheres, while 6% are for, and 6% are unsure. The full survey and results can be found here.

When asked, “If [CPSC] states that magnet sets are safer and more useful than balloons, and the same organization then attempts to ban magnet sets for all ages, how would this affect the organization’s reputation and credibility, in your opinion?”, 39% said an all-ages ban would negatively affect public their opinion of the CPSC, while 5% responded positively. Men were more likely to react negatively to the magnet ban as 44% vs 33% of men and women, respectively, indicated negative effect. 3% of men vs 7% of women expected a positive effect. Men were also twice as likely to be aware of the CPSC’s effort to ban magnets, at 14% vs 7%.

Some of the arguments used in favor of a ban are:
» That people aren’t aware of the dangers of magnet ingestion, and warning labels don’t work on these products.
» That magnets are too appealing to kids.
» An estimate about 1,700 cases of emergency visits from kids swallowing magnets sets between 2009 and 2011, out of 3 million sets.

Some of the main counter arguments are:
» That education is the solution that does not cut liberties, and it’s unproven that warnings don’t work.
» That these magnets are not marketed or used primarily by children.
» The estimate of 1,700 injuries lacked a counter bias check, and is bad science. In fact 94% of the injury rate was present in the prior 3 years, before magnet sphere sets were introduced to market.

Buckyballs, the leading competitor, dissolved in early 2013 following an administrative complaint from the CPSC. However the CPSC continues to pursue the ex-CEO in his individual capacity. Zen Magnets and Magnicube have been targeted with the same mandatory recall procedures, and are the first companies to have ever received CPSC administrative complaints without record of injury. To date, Zen Magnets continues to sell high powered magnet spheres at and .

Public Polling Policy was hailed as one the pollster that most accurately predicted the 2012 presidential election. To date, no representatives of the CPSC are recorded to have acknowledged this poll.