[11/2/12] This is an update for Change.org petition signers and redditors.
October 31st was a big day full of bad magnet news.
TLDR: Buckyballs threw in the towel, announced discontinuation, making Zen Magnets the last standing in the US. The AAP and NASPHGAN hand out prewritten think-of-the-children letters, instructing pediatricians to comment in support of CPSC magnet ban rulemaking.
On Bucky Dropping Out:
"Maxfield & Oberton, the maker of Buckyballs and Buckycubes, popular office toys made up of small magnetic beads that can be molded into different shapes, is discontinuing those products after continued pressure from the federal government," said ABC Nightline.
We're not sure about the specific reasons why Bucky has decided to give up now. The lawsuit from the buckminster estate might have something to do with it too. This makes Zen the last magnet sphere company standing in the US for now. We'll keep fighting as long as we can.
On the Rulemaking Whitewash:
For clarification, there are two attacks that the CPSC is launching. The first are the administrative complaints, precise and targeted lawsuits, missles launched against Buckyballs and Zen Magnets. The second is proposed rulemaking, a blanket ban on all "collections of small high powered magnets," federal magnet sphere prohibition.
The significance of comments submitted to rulemaking, is that the CPSC is legally required to consider them (Though, they are the judge and executioner too.) On Oct 31st, was a well organized barrage of comments from AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) members and NASPGHAN (North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition) members in support of the ban. Pediatrians have even recieved pre-written letters to submit, though in many cases failing to delete a line of instructions.
"Note: While this template includes key message points, commenters are strongly encouraged to personalize the letter for maximum effectiveness." Click pdf icon to view attachment.
"Insert personal story / experience treating children who have ingested these magnets as relevant". Attachment here.
Before Oct 31, almost all comments were against the ban, and were made by civilians, students, teachers and parents. Now, a big chunk are in support of the ban.
You can see all of the public comments here.
The prevailing patterns of arguments against the ban are the same as before:
Trivialization of the the value and utility of magnet spheres. "These products are trash." "They serve no useful purpose and should totally banned."
Magnets very dangerous if swallowed, and often require surgery. "debilitating injuries, irreversible gastrointestinal damage." This point is mostly true.
Magnets are inherently attractive to little kids, and warnings don't work. "Puchasers will not keep them out of reach effectively."
For those who have asked how they can help, there's no easy answer. There's the Change.org petition, easy to sign, but easy to ignore. You could submit comment on the rulemaking yourself, but it needs be substantive and directly address the proposed rule. If you wanted magnets anyways, buying some would help finance more expert witnesses for rulemaking comments and litigation.
Again, Zen Magnets has had zero ingestion incidents, and have never sold on toy shelves or been referred to as toys. This fight's not over, but there's an unexpected amount of political motivation to make magnet spheres harder to obtain than ammunition in the US.
If you have other questions, let us know, and we'll try our best.