Over 35,000 holiday-themed rubber ducks, valued around $18,500, were seized by U.S Customs and Border Protections (CPB) in the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport for having unsafe levels of the chemical phthalate.
Phthalates are oily, colorless chemicals that are used to make vinyl and other plastics soft and flexible. Although people are routinely exposed to them, higher-than-allowed levels of these chemicals have been found to be harmful to the health and safety of children, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, can cause changes in hormone levels and birth defects. The sale, distribution, and importation of toys with concentrations higher than 0.1 percent is prohibited in the U.S by the Consumer Product Safety Committee (CPSC).
The toy ducks were dressed as Santa Claus, snowmen, reindeer, and penguins, and all were from China.
This wasn't the first time this holiday season that unsafe toys from overseas were intercepted. Earlier this month in Detroit, authorities seized more than 3,000 toy guns from China, all of which had unsafe levels of lead. Additionally, at a seizure last week in Jacksonville, Fla., authorities intercepted toy cars that had lead contamination at levels high enough to do long-lasting harm to a child.
The CPB and CPSC have seized over 8.5 million unsafe toys over tha past four years from ports across the country, essentially helping to keep dangerous and hazardous toys off of store shelves and out of consumer's homes.
For more information on recent recalls, visit our Children's Products and Toy Recalls page.
Have a safe holiday!