Wilmington, DE, November 28, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- The International Consumer Magnets Association (ICMA) today announced a voluntary industry standard for consumer products containing magnets. The new standard targets consumer products which are not toys or jewellry, and aims to unite the segmented industry through product standards, public initiatives and corporate accountability. The standard is set to come into effect January 2014. The ICMA is also working with ASTM International under the Consumer Magnet Workgroup for broader standardization and certification alignment.
- Promote magnet safety through awareness and education
- Increase corporate accountability across the industry
- Provide consumers with return or exchange options
- Encourage collaboration for standards and regulation across the industry, government, consumer associations, and the medical community
In the absence of existing standards, US regulators have spearheaded initiatives to prohibit public access to magnets that can be foreseeably swallowable. Unfortunately, such a restriction directly affects over 95% of magnets presently available to consumers. In the US, a typical household contains over 50 magnets that are embedded or loose. While there have been no deaths in the US associated with magnet ingestions since the implementation of new toy standards in 2007, regulators are advocating that a comprehensive, nation-wide ban is the only effective method for addressing the risk of ingestion due to accidental misuse. Since the recent efforts by regulators to impose stop-sales and recalls in the US, a lucrative black market has emerged for magnets, specifically magnet sphere sets, that are imported by consumers directly from China. These imports now account for the vast majority of magnet sales in the US.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the International Consumer Product Safety Caucus (ICPSC) have also spearheaded an anti-magnet advocacy group that includes the Consumer’s Union (the public policy branch of Consumer Reports) led by Rachel Weintraub, Kids in Danger, the American Academy of Pediatrics and NASPGHAN. This group endeavors to pass the CPSC’s proposed legislation that effectively bans magnet products across the US.
In contrast, the magnet industry has been facing strong pressure to defend consumer interest against a magnet prohibition. Recently, on October 22, 2013, the US CPSC held a “public meeting” for oral commenting where the public was noticeably absent. Instead, the meeting was attended entirely by members of the anti-magnet advocacy group. Upset magnet hobbyists, customers and advocates against government overreach continue to be vocal across the Internet, but submissions for public commentary against a national ban are now closed and no longer accepted.
The ICMA aims to protect consumer freedoms and promote magnet safety awareness through unified standards and collaboration with regulators, consumer associations and the medical community.
Magnet Standards - General Guidelines:
All consumers have the option to exchange small magnets for larger items where changing life circumstances present an increased risk of accidental ingestion (ie young children in the household, or a new pet that’s prone to ingesting metallic objects). Manufacturers will offer to exchange the product, extend credit or issue a refund subject to company policies.
Safety Awareness Fund
ICMA manufacturers commit to a minimum 1% contribution of consumer sales toward magnet safety education and awareness.
Products sold will include a URL or form to report injuries or misuse of magnet products. This information will be used by the ICMA to improve industry safety measures and inform appropriate parties when products have been sold or used inappropriately.
Ingestion Assistance Program
Products sold will include resources or a URL to resources that provide guidance in the event of a magnet incident. Resources include links to nearby clinics, FAQs and other helpful resources.
New graphic warnings have been developed for informing potential magnet crushing and/or magnet ingestion hazards. These warnings will be used on applicable products in conjunction with text in local language(s). Products containing magnets will also be marked “not for children.”
The ICMA is free to join as an individual or organization. Parties interested in becoming involved with the ASTM International’s Consumer Magnet Workgroup, the International Consumer Magnet Association, and consumers looking to participate in standards and rulemaking can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Consumer Magnets Association
The International Consumer Magnets Association (ICMA) is an industry organization for the creation of universal standards and consistent practices for consumer products containing magnets. The ICMA encourages innovation in the field of consumer products containing magnets, promotes magnet safety through public awareness, facilitates incident reporting, and encourages corporate accountability. The association represents consumer and industry interests in matters of regulation and policy. www.magnetassociation.org