CPSC Continues War on Magnets, Sues Zen Magnets
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has launched its second assault against companies manufacturing high-powered magnets. On Tuesday, the CPSC filed a lawsuit against Zen Magnets, a Denver-based manufacturer of rare earth magnet desk toys.
Tuesday's lawsuit mirrors the one the CPSC filed less than two weeks ago against Maxfield & Oberton LLC, makers of Buckyballs. In both suits, the commission voted 3-1 to file the complaint, which asks the manufacturing company to stop selling the product and offer customers full refunds.
"The Commission staff alleges in its complaint that Zen Magnets warning and labeling are defective because they do not effectively communicate the hazard associated with ingestion of the product," the CPSC statement said. "The complaint further alleges that the product's design and packaging are also defective because they fail to prevent children from gaining access to the product, and do not allow parents or caregivers to know readily if a magnet is missing and is potentially within the reach of a young child. The complaint alleges that once separated from the packaging, the individual magnets themselves display no warning against ingestion or aspiration, and the small size of the individual magnets precludes the addition of such a warning."
According to the CPSC, there have been dozens of reported incidents of children and teenagers accidentally swallowing the magnets, which can damage organs and tissues, leading to "infection, sepsis and possibly death." The CPSC has required that 13 different magnet manufacturers pull their products from shelves, and of those, all agreed except for Maxfield & Oberton and Zen Magnets.
Shihan Qu, founder of Zen Magnets, said that none of the injuries reported involved products from his company and insists, like Maxfield & Oberton, that the items are marketed exclusively toward adults. "Obviously we are being punished because children have regretfully misused our competitor's magnets, which are similar in size and strength to ours," he said in a post on the company's website.
Related story: CPSC Sues Buckyballs, Seeks Ban and Refunds for Products