New Ban, New Brawl
We’re gearing up for another fight against the CPSC! (Wheeeee) For those of you who have been following since 2014, you might remember the fight that Zen Magnets won vs CPSC over the first ban on high-powered hobby magnets. Well, the CPSC has approved a new “magnet safety standard” for non-toy products, AKA they’ve banned high powered hobby magnets for adults again. This time the fight is little different. 💪
The “we” in this case is no longer the Zen Magnets company, since Zen Magnets™ is extinct. I (Shihan) am continuing the fight for reasonable magnet regulation with a new nonprofit I’ve founded called MagnetSafety.org, and have pulled together a few heavy hitters to make it happen. Gone are the days of a David vs. Goliath battle between Zen Magnets and the CPSC. Magnetsafety.org has teamed up with two big hobby industry associations (Hobby Manufacturers Association & National Retail Hobby Stores Association) representing over 400 hobby stores across America and a squad of sharp pro bono civil liberty veterans (NCLA). See the NCLA Case page here.
Zen Magnets is Dead?
In short: Yes.
There have been no sales of Zen Magnets since 2020. Time flies! The ZenMagnets.com website has been slowly falling apart, gradually being retaken by nature in the form of form of server errors, plugin failures, and other symptoms of internet entropy.
“Where can I buy Zen Magnets” is still the most commonly asked question. I’m afraid the answer is Nowhere, and Never. Regardless whether or not we succeed the challenge against the 2022 Magnet Ban Challenge (,and/or are unable to push for reasonable high powered magnet regulation), I personally need to move on from magnet stuff eventually.
To temper expectations, there has admittedly been one big shift for me….
I have a new adorable baby boy! And he is just the cutest and sweetest and squishiest.
While the battle for reasonable magnet regulation is a cause I believe in, it’s essentially a time+money consuming activist hobby for me. The outcome affects none of my current or future business affairs, and the opportunity cost to my (new lovely doughy faced) family has risen significantly
With that said…
Even though I no longer have a horse in the high powered magnet business, the data shows that the CPSC’s continued overreach on a ban for all ages on high-powered hobby magnets neither safe nor reasonable, so team common sense is making one more stand, in the form of MagnetSafety.org.
While half of me wants my new precious little man to stay an adorable floppy gravity slave forever, the other part of me anxiously minds the future with thoughts like: “should I teach him how to use magnets before or after I teach him how to drive?” and “Do I teach him high powered magnet safety, before or after I teach him how to use a band saw?”
Right now, the CPSC’s answer to those questions are “Never”, and “At No Age Ever”. In one line, this is why MagnetSafety.org was created.
This is about more than just finding the middle ground between a complete ban and unrestricted access to magnets. Rather the opposite, maximizing magnet safety requires optimal consumer education, which is why the CPSC bans have been counterproductive. It’s not like the adult magnet bans have put a dent on demand, all they’ve done is punish and shoo American companies while having little effect on over-seas grey market and counterfeit sales of high powered magnets. The result? Unsafe labeling and packaging abound, and more magnet ingestions injuries than ever.
At MagnetSafety.org, I hope we find clever ways to educate consumers on safe magnet use use, and strive for regulation that optimizes safety without just trashing the consent of consumers. Our harm reduction efforts will be focused on improvement of age restrictions, warnings, labels, child-resistant packaging, and sales methods.
Beyond the legal challenge of the CPSC’s new magnet ban, we’re actively trying to develop voluntary ASTM standards. And we’ll be keeping tabs on: magnet injury data, CPSC enforcement effectiveness, indicators of demand, and usage (good and bad).
We’re fighting a ban on magnets, but we’re fighting for the right for hobbyists and educators to use them safely.
Wanna help!? Check out MagnetSafety.org to sign up for updates about action ideas, research, and related.
Let’s show the CPSC that we’re not gonna back down, and we are smart enough to prevent kids from eating magnets. And even if you don’t care much about magnets, maybe you’ll want to follow along just because you support truth, harm reduction, and stopping government overreach.
– Shihan Qu
Founder of Zen Magnets and Director of MagnetSafety.org