The following is our public response to the CPSC email we received on 8/16/21. Screenshot here.

Hi Madeleine,

Here I am sitting on the toilet checking my email, and much to my surprise – with matters still unconfirmed – the CPSC says tomorrow morning they’ll be sending out a one-sided recall notice. SURPRISE! Oh CPSC, that’s so CPSC of you. *Cue sitcom laugh track*

To my recollection, I’ve been waiting over a month for y’all to decide whether you wanted a recall, or dissolution/bankruptcy proceedings from Zen by requesting Zen’s compliance outside of it’s financial capabilities. E.g, insisting that we send multi-page first class letters to the tens of thousands who have ever purchased Zen Magnets.

I suppose it’s good that CPSC has decided it would rather have a recall within the capabilities of Zen rather than its dissolution. That’s at least a choice that’s consistent with what the CPSC has said and done in the past.

Unfortunately, the toilet upon which I sit is several states away from my computer, so… no I can’t set up the toll-free number right now, within half a day’s notice. I’ll have the tools and access to modify the site and send notices when I’m back in Colorado in about a week (on the 25th of August). Excuse the delay, though there isn’t really a delay, since we’ve been offering a voluntary recall since 2016 for anyone to return Zen Magnets and Neoballs for any reason. And we haven’t sold 5mm magnets since 2020.

For now, this phone screen typed email response pushed to wordpress will have to cover explaining the slight delay in updates and recall processing.

-Shihan Qu


This text was sent to press seeking comment by email:

Although Zen Magnets LLC has had more success fighting the CPSC than any company in the past decade, in the end the same group of people who decided to sue Zen in the first place (CPSC Commissioners), got to play as the appellant body to decide that they were always right in the first place. Zen Magnets is honored to have been the leading voice of the majority of consumers who believe that adults should be able purchase recreational high powered magnets, in the CPSC’s continual and uncompromising War on Magnets. While the median age of our users was 34 years, we fought hard for the middle ground where recreational magnets could be used, sold, and labeled safely, rather than a nationwide all-ages prohibition that the CPSC seeks of our magnets.

We’ve been offering a voluntary recall since 2016:, allowing customers to return magnets for a refund for any reason, including if they didn’t feel safe with them, didn’t think they could keep them from being swallowed, or was unable to understand why they are dangerous, or didn’t like the name Zen Magnets. So the only real difference here is a sales prohibition of the specific recreational magnet spheres which carried the loudest warnings, leaving only competitors that are often sold as children’s toys.

The biggest falsehood that the CPSC and their lobbyist & press partners continue to advance is that there was a “ban” from 2012-2016 that led to a drop in injuries. This is 100% false. There was no mandatory standard adopted in 2012 in any manner that could have been construed as a ban. The CPSC’s magnet set ban was effective from 2015 to 2016. It was the CPSC’s enforcement of existing toy safety laws (ASTM-F963) that reduced magnet injuries in 2012. The same type enforcement that the CPSC visibly chose to forgo, coincidentally or not, while Trump was in office.

Zen Magnets was the first company to petition the CPSC for safer standards for recreational magnet sets after their 2016 ban was overturned by a Judge, for not having properly considered alternatives. After much work with other companies, doctors, and human factors experts, the spirit of our petition for safer magnet standards lives in a new standard ASTM F3458 – 21 ( which requires recreational magnets to have warnings stronger than cigarettes and fireworks combined, and packaging that’s safer that laundry detergent pods and on par with pharmaceuticals.

Though it is likely we may never be able to sell our flagship magnets again, we are hopeful that the millions of fans of 5mm magnet spheres continue fighting for their consumer rights, by:
1. Reminding the regulators in charge that they could easily adopt this new standard – that is excessively safe in comparison with other hazards – and could still allow adults to still access 5mm magnets.
2. And that high powered magnet sets are already banned in kids toys, and they should not be waiting to enforce the children’s toy safety laws until they can also prohibit adults from purchasing recreational magnets.