[Edit 12/8/2020, just got off the phone with the Lawyers, odds of stop-sale of Zen Magnets and Neoballs are 100%, and it will come as early as Dec 21. Here’s an update direct from our legal counsel:
After the Tenth Circuit ruled that the District Court of Colorado erred in finding Zen’s due process rights had been violated by the CPSC in the administrative adjudication, it paved the way for the CPSC to enforce its Final Decision and Order (FDO) from 2017. The FDO, if it becomes effective, would prevent Zen Magnets from manufacturing for sale, offering for sale, distributing in commerce, or importing into the customs territory of the United States, the Subject Products.
Right now, Zen Magnets and the CPSC have been ordered to provide a joint status report to the District Court no later than December 21, 2020. So, it’s possible that the stop-sale provision of the FDO could take effect before the end of this year, depending on how fast the District Court issues its final order.
[Edit 11/2020, after some recent legal updates, Zen Magnets will probably end sooner than expected. Potentially before the end of 2020.]
- The Zen Magnets company may have to stop selling recreational magnet spheres as
early as February 2021.[Edit 12/8/2020: Dec 21 2020]
- We’ll be the first magnet sphere company to include child resistant packaging with all of our high powered magnets anyways.
Potential February 2021 Expiration
A paragraph of background for those who are here recently from the Neoballs side of things: The Zen Magnets company is the longest standing magnet sphere company. We’ve been in a marathon legal battle with the US Federal Government for 8 of 11 years of our existence. It’s because Neodymium magnets are dangerous if swallowed and may require surgical removal if they get stuck. Plus, like fireworks and trampolines, children find them appealing, and so they must be banned for adults… oh wait… Cue mental montage of a flurry of motions, orders, flights, depositions, in-court oral skirmishes, and the fiery sacrifice of 400k magnets in steel ovens.
Cut to the present. A recent court order was issued in the CPSC’s (Consumer Product Safety Commission’s) favor in the recall arena. Our lawyer says we have until at least February to keep selling magnets based on the expected timelines. You can see the order here, our response here. The order was written by Judge Bacharach, the same judge who previously rebuked comparisons with latex balloons by claiming that balloons were harmless (seemingly unaware that balloons are the number one cause of child asphyxiation in America).
We may be the world record holder in most wins against the CPSC – largely because we’re not shy about the hazard of magnets and cover our products with more warnings than skateboards, chainsaws and cigarettes combined – but our combat coffers aren’t as bottomless as the taxpayer funded Feds. We’re still fighting, but our odds of continuing sales of magnets in 2021, are
less than 50% [Edit 12/8/2020: 0%, we will need to stop sale], unless we pack our magnets into shotgun shells to sell as ammunition.
Child Resistant Packaging
From a broader perspective, the legal battle is only half of the war on magnets. As much as we’re fighting against the government’s seizure of consumer consent, we’re also fighting for magnet safety by leading the struggle against societal perceptions that high powered magnets sold by others are kids toys (they’re not, and shouldn’t be.)
Despite the fact that we sell like a percent of the high powered magnet sets on the market, we were the first to petition the CPSC for rules that required industry-wide child resistant packaging in 2017. We continued those efforts through ASTM with magnetsafety.org, a group we co-founded to promote safe use of recreational magnets.
And so the future of recreational magnets has been sandwiched between a rock and a hard place. From the front, many firms are still selling sets of hazardous magnets without proper labeling, often marketed explicitly to toddlers and children, which has been illegal since 2009 but especially underenforced since 2017. And from the flank, the CPSC and their Advocacy Partners have continually voted against the requirement of child resistant packaging and even reduced existing toy safety enforcement to strengthen the narrative that recreational magnets are toys for children. A strawman erected as if to announce, “We’d rather let there be more injuries than get less than the prohibition we’ve always wanted”
Now, to further parry the impression that recreational magnets are kids toys, Zen Magnets will be the first to have child resistant packaging on all high powered magnet products on par with packaging standards in the pharmaceutical and recreational marijuana industries. Production on new packaging has already started, and there will be a transition over the next few months. We think this is the right thing to do to push magnet safety forward.
Even if our company doesn’t make it out alive.
Founder, Zen Magnets LLC