Sunday, April 12, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: Attractive Article

"High-power magnets get temporary reprieve from safety rules" by Rachel Abrams, New York Times  April 04, 2015

NEW YORK — A federal Appeals Court has temporarily halted new safety rules for high-power magnets, dealing a setback to federal regulators who have spent years fighting to get such products off the market. The ruling was a reprieve for the remaining manufacturer.

The ruling will prevent the Consumer Product Safety Commission from enforcing new regulations for the magnets, made popular by the now-defunct Buckyballs. Regulatory efforts were initiated after a child died from swallowing the toys.

As long as they don't swallow any pennies.


Fighting high-power magnets has been the safety agency’s most aggressive campaign in years. The toys, which contain magnets that are stronger than normal, were typically sold in sets. Consumers could stick them together to build different shapes, and the products were largely marketed as an adult desktop toy.

But the CPSC became alarmed at reports that children were swallowing the magnets, which could attach to each other through the intestines and cause internal injuries. Such injuries sent 2,900 children and teenagers to the hospital from 2009 to 2013, the commission said, citing data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, the agency’s network of self-reporting products. At least one child died.

Not that one child's life is unimportant; however, have you noticed that this government makes a big deal about small things and neglects larger issues with more serious ramifications?

The agency pushed manufacturers to issue voluntary recalls, but the manufacturers pushed back, until fighting the commission became too expensive. Maxfield & Oberton, the maker of Buckyballs, refused for years to issue a recall before finally capitulating. Eventually, all of the magnet makers stopped production except for Shihan Qu, the founder of Zen Magnets, who still sells some magnets online....

I'm sorry, readers, but my interest in this didn't stick.