THE LATEST: On August 18, 2023, pediatric physicians and surgeons submitted a friend of the court brief in Magnetsafety.org v. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in support of federal safety standards regulating high-powered magnets. High-powered magnet sets are packages of small, powerful magnets that can be mentally stimulating and fun for adults—and extremely dangerous, even deadly, for children. Magnet ingestion is a pediatric healthcare crisis, as both data and anecdotal evidence shared in the brief make clear.
As the physicians on the front lines of treating children for the injuries caused by magnet ingestion, authors of the brief—the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN), American College of Surgeons (ACS), American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS), and the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA)—possess unique expertise in this matter.
For more than 50 years, the CPSC has protected the public from risks of serious injury or death from thousands of types of consumer products under its jurisdiction, including products that can injure children. As part of its mandate, the CPSC issued a regulation on high-power magnets in 2014 that was halted after a legal challenge from magnet industry groups.
Unfortunately, the evidence has made tragically clear that a rule restricting the sale of these magnets for entertainment purposes is so necessary: following the original rule’s adoption, high-powered magnet ingestions dropped sharply, but after the rule was struck down by a court, ingestions climbed again.
That is why, in January 2022, the CPSC issued a new proposed rule, which, after receiving public comment, the CPSC finalized on September 21, 2022. The 2022 rule is now being challenged by magnet industry groups with the help of far-right legal organizations who seek to use the courts to undermine the federal government’s ability to protect consumers, which explains why the lawsuit goes beyond simply challenging these life-saving regulations and also challenges the constitutionality of the entire CPSC.
In their effort to overturn these important safety standards, these industry groups manipulate evidence and distort data to attempt to convince the court that this regulation is not necessary. Amici, whose members have led the robust and peer-reviewed research on which the regulation is based, submit this brief to set the record straight.
This amicus brief is an example of Democracy Forward’s continued work to lead efforts that combat the trend of anti-democratic actors distorting science, data, and the law to try and dismantle key federal programs and protections.