More than 35,000 rubber ducks were seized at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach after US Customs discovered they contained a harmful chemical.
The rubber ducks, made in China, were seized by the US Customs and Border Patrol, who worked in conjunction with Consumer Product Safety Commission investigators, reports ABC Local.
The toys, seized last Tuesday, were dressed like Santa Claus, snowmen, reindeer, and penguins. They contained levels of the chemical phthalates that were higher than the US CPSC allows.
The Examiner notes that the chemical used in the seized rubber ducks is usually used to make vinyl and other plastics more flexible. It is also easily released into the environment, however, because there is no permanent bond between the chemicals and the plastics they are mixed with.
Todd C. Owen, the CBP Director of Field Operations in Los Angeles, stated of the rubber ducks:
“This seizure reflects the unprecedented level of collaboration between the CBP and CPSC professionals. CBP incorporates CPSC expertise directly in identifying potentially unsafe products arriving in shipments at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.”
CPSC regulations do not allow the sale, distribution, or importation of any product made for children that contains more than 0.1 percent of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP). This is because the chemical phthalate has been shown in rat studies to increase the rate of birth defects and also to change hormone levels.
The CPSC and CBP have worked together over the past four years to stop more than 2,400 different kinds of toys and children’s products , including the latest rubber duck seizure from entering the US because of safety hazards and their failure to meet federal safety standards.