Denver company fights order to stop selling tiny magnets

DENVER — A Denver company is fighting back, taking on the Consumer Product Safety Commission, after being told it must stop selling tiny magnets.

The CPSC says the super powered magnets can be dangerous to children.

Zen Magnets is hoping to attract enough support to keep them in business.The founder, Shihan Qu, told FOX31 Denver, “It doesn’t seem hopeless to me… there’s a lot of holes in the argument the CPSC has put against me.

It is obvious public opinion is on our side. We’ve had people come in here, call, wish us the best of luck. There’s an online petition, on savemagnets.com. We already have over 2,500 signatures.”

The CPSC sued Zen Magnets and one other manufacturer of similar magnets, asking them to stop selling what they call a dangerous product.

They say children have swallowed the magnets which can cause serious internal injuries.

CPSC Director of Communications, Scott Wolfson told FOX31 Denver, “Doctors have told us here at CPSC that this injury is like a gunshot wound to the gut with no sign of entry or exit. We don’t say that lightly, we have a great deal of sympathy for what happened in Aurora, but this is a serious injury pattern that is happening.”

They estimate tiny magnets have sent 1,700 children to hospitals around the country over the past two years.

They say a public service educational campaign about the dangers didn’t get the message across. So they want the makers to stop selling them.

Wolfson said, “We really feel this is an important step for the safety of children. We have an obligation here at CPSC where we see foreseeable misuse of a product that is leading to serious safety problems for children, we have that responsibility to step up and act.”

But Shihan Qu said Zen Magnets have never been linked to any injuries, and he does not believe he should have to stop selling them.

Qu said, “It sucks that we would be put out of business. But honestly, if it really was that our magnets were defective, then the cost of a few businesses is a minor societal cost, but in this case, our magnets are not mechanically defective and it’s unreasonable for them to try to prohibit the sale of our magnets.”

Some local parents agree. Daniela Ochtera said, “With this product, it`s excellent… you can create things. It must be much older children. I personally think it`s the parent’s responsibility.”

Qu has launched an online petition to build public support for his case. He has to respond to the CPSC’s lawsuit by August 26. For more information about his petition: http://www.savemagnets.com

For more information about the CPSC’s warnings: http://www.cpsc.gov/info/magnets/index.html


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