Comment from Dr. Brian Reed

The is a Comment on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Proposed Rule: Safety Standard for Magnet Sets

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As an educator in physical sciences I am concerned with the recent practice of banning or restricting access to items or devices based on a minimal potential for misuse, despite the inclusion of clear warning labels and safety information provided with these products.

I personally use these sets of small, strong, rare-earth magnets in my classes to demonstrate the concepts of magnetism, electromagnetic fields, etc. and always discuss magnet safety as part of the presentation.

By prohibiting the sale of these magnets and other similar 'toys' we are depriving ourselves of valuable educational tools. This may sound like a strange statement, but if you have ever seen the wonder on a child's face when confronted with a set of these magnets and their desire to understand why these things behave as they do, you would understand what a golden opportunity for learning they present.

If we can't trust people to read the warning labels, identify the hazards, and act appropriately, where will the legislation end? I feel that by restricting access to products because of these easily avoidable dangers we undermine the development of personal responsibility, accountability, and a sense of appropriate caution; qualities that we say we wish to develop in today's youth.

Compare the number of small rare earth magnet related injuries with those caused by any number of other items, hot dogs for example. More children are killed by choking on hotdogs every year than these magnets, and I would argue that the magnets provide much more value to our society by fostering creativity and a desire for knowledge.

In closing I urge you reject the proposed rule. If you truly want to protect people, then educate them.

Comment Period Closed
Nov 19 2012, at 11:59 PM ET
ID: CPSC-2012-0050-1038
Tracking Number: 1jw-822h-9y89

Document Information

Date Posted: Nov 27, 2012
RIN: Not Assigned
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Submitter Information

Submitter Name: Dr. Brian Reed