Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail a link to a friend
Monday April 13, 2020

ASTM Adult Magnets Panel Leans Away from Scope Change

ASTM F15.77 on adult magnet sets was poised April 7 to reject a proposed scope change that could effectively eliminate the types of products targeted by its draft standard. The vote to make the change stood at 8 yeas and 11 nays, but it will re­main open for a while so that voting members not on the call could have a chance to vote.


The proposal was to have a performance requirement that covered magnets either must not fit into a small parts cyl­in­der or must have strengths below flux index 50.


If the outstanding votes flip towards passage, the scope change could cause the panel to fall apart. Some manufac­turers on the call indicated they would drop out because the new direction would run counter to the goal when the group was established (PSL, 2/25/19) – creating standards for sets with small, loose magnets and flux index over 50.


If the number of manufacturers represented falls under three – and there are only three now – then ASTM balance rules would not be met, Then, the panel could not do work.


A few of the points made against the move included:


·     It seemed to be a "backdoor" attempt to ban the sets.


·     Either change would harm utility. Low strength would af­fect ability to stick together. Large size with flux index 50 could endanger fingers. Either limits manipulability.


·     Even the F963 toy standard allows small, strong magnets in narrow circumstances – experiment set – so the change would have the odd effect of banning products for adults that can be allowed for children.


Arguments in favor of the proposed change focused on dis­trust that labeling/packaging/marketing provisions as even­­tually likely to be shown suf­fi­cient and concern that injuries and deaths could occur in the meantime. Also, the items are attractive to children regardless of labels, etc.


Back-and-forth on the latter involved antici­pated versus known incidents. The panel has some limited but redacted data from CPSC but heard from an agency staff­er that more details would come in an upcoming briefing package.


It will cover a 2017 petition seeking CPSC rules (PSL, 10/2/17) similar to the provi­sions that ASTM is considering. Although the staffer could not speak on the ultimate recommendation, he did indicate that there might be concerns about packaging or lack thereof.