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20: Essay Contest – Don’t Ban Magnet Spheres

Posted on Jul 25, 2012 by in No Magnets required

Click Here to Sign the Petition

Submissions Closed

If you sent an essay, expect a response by mid September.

A lot of prizes this time. And a lot at stake.

If you haven’t already heard, the US Federal Government is trying to ban all sales of magnet spheres. All companies have received voluntary stop-sale requests, and both Zen Magnets and Bucky have been issued an administrative CPSC complaint. There may only be one last Christmas season of Zen Magnets. This contest will be like none that we’ve done before, and will directly impact the future of magnet sphere art. Everyone who submits a good letter will earn a free Zen Gift Set. And submitters of the best two letters will each earn a brand new Mandala set.

The July and August contest is to write an essay arguing against the ban of magnet spheres. Use a minimum of 1000 words (About 2-3 pages). You can use images, but they aren’t necessary.

First, decide who you are writing to, and address them directly. It can be one person, multiple people, or even entire government agencies like the CPSC. Potential people listed below.

Introduce yourself. Use of full name is optional, but it’s easier to build rapport when the reader can relate.
Be Civil. Emotion is good, but avoid use of obscenities or inflammatory statements to convey your feelings.
Be Sympathetic. The best way to have another person see your perspective, is to try to see theirs. Your argument will also be more effective if you can forsee their counter argument.
Sum it up. In a letter with many examples, write a powerful conclusion paragraph by summarizing key points that support a clear call to action.

Everything — the research, the arguments, the persuasion, the passion — is up to you.

Proofread it, save it as a word document, or pdf file, and attach it to an email to [Submissions Closed] with subject: “Don’t Ban Magnets Essay”. Also include your address in your email, so we know where to send your Zen Gift Set. Not only will we send your letter to your addressee directly, but you can also expect your letter posted on, here. A quality rating will be publicly assigned to your letter, if it makes the cut.

We ask that you also take a few seconds to email you letter directly as well. CPSC email addresses are linked in the names below.

Potential Targets of your Letter A few facts
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand– One of the loudest voices in the condemnation of magnet spheres.CPSC Leaders:
Inez Tenenbaum, CPSC Chairman
Robert Adler, CPSC Vice Chariman
Nancy Nord, CPSC Commisioner
Anne Northup, CPSC Commisioner
Scott Wolfson, Director of Communication
Kenneth Hinson, Executive Director CPSCSenator Sherrod Brown– Another senator that urged the CPSC to ban the sales of magnet spheres.President Obama – He has bigger fish to fry, and probably had nothing directly to do with it. But he’s the boss man that handpicked the current CPSC commissioners.


Entities and Agencies:
CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commision) – A Freemarket Foundation
AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics)

Zen Magnets LLC has never had an ingestion incident. Nor have we ever put our magnets on shelves next to other toys. Or ever referred to our magnets as toys.The CPSC is targeting a specific “class” as products, in this case an “aggregate” of small spheres. Presumably, individual magnets could still be sold.[8/8/12] – The CPSC estimates that about 6,100 incidents of swallowed magnets (of any type) occurred from 2009-11. They also estimate 1,700 ingestion of magnets from “magnet sets” were treated in U.S. emergency rooms. The CPSC does not know of any fatalities. This information comes from the NEISS (National Electronic Injury Survey System)The NEISS database also shows an estimated 270,000+ ER injuries from trampolines over the same 2009-2011 time period. Also an estimated 10,000+ ER injuries and 18 recorded (not estimated) deaths from balloons. You can search through the NEISS database here.According to pediatrician data, about 70% of injuries are to those 5 and under, due to young children exploring their environments with their mouths. 20% are from teens and preteens mimicking tongue piercings.The argument specifically against magnets, is that they are more dangerous than other small or hazardous objects because magnets don’t inherently look dangerous, and many people don’t know they are dangerous.

Some Companies such as Nanodots who have sold in a retail environment also have not had ingestion incidents.

Nancy Nord has the most experience, and is the voice of reason among the CPSC Commissioners. In the Aug 9 CPSC Webcast, she noted “If we accept the basic premise [that warnings don’t work] … it really calls into question the underlying regulatory adequacy of what this agency does.” She also noted that according to neiss data for 2010, there were 3200 injuries and 5 deaths involving balloons, which is a much more dangerous product compared to magnets. And similarly, balloons don’t have warnings that stay with the product, are easily passed around, and the mechanism for injury “that a balloon could block your windpipe” was also not obvious until she was told this.

In the same Aug 9 CPSC Webcast, it was noted that the CPSC staff determined the appropriate age grade was 9 years. That magnet spheres were “Well within their cognitive and fine motor capabilities.” Also, federal regulation ASTM-F963 notes that hazardous magnets are permitted to be labelled 8+ for “science kit” and “hobby” items. Both ASTM regulation and the CPSC agree that children under the age of 14 can handle magnets properly.


Submitted essays are posted here.

This page last updated 8/16/2012