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.