Authorities Seize 200,000 Toxic Toys at U.S. Ports
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and Consumer Product Safety Commission investigators have seized more than 200,000 toy dolls arriving from China due to high levels of phthalates, a group of banned chemical compounds. Officials seized a total of 10 shipments valued at nearly $500,000 at the ports of Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Norfolk, Va., Memphis, Tenn., Newark, N.J., Portland, Ore., and Savannah, Ga.
The Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center targeted the shipments beginning in April because of the potential that the products presented a safety threat to the American public, particularly children, and contained items prohibited in the U.S. Although dispersed across the county, officials flagged the shipments as high risk after CTAC identified key commonalities in the hazardous products.
“Using advanced technology to track certain shipments before they reach our shores is helping CPSC better protect America’s consumers,” said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. “CPSC and CBP are working in partnership to detect and detain violative imports. Through the use of a risk management system, we are targeting those shipments most likely to contain dangerous goods, while also allowing for faster processing of compliant products. Expanding our port surveillance program is key to preventing injuries and achieving our long-term vision.”
Since April 2010, CPSC has maintained permanent staffing at CTAC in Washington, D.C. In addition, CPSC compliance investigators are assigned to several major ports across the country and work side-by-side with CBP officers to examine shipments of potentially unsafe imported consumer products to help prevent them from reaching the hands of America’s consumers. In Fiscal Year 2012, CTAC targeting efforts resulted in the seizure of more than 1.1 million unsafe products.
“The Toy Industry Association commends CBP and CPSC for their diligence and hard work at the ports to ensure that products violating strict federal safety laws never reach consumers,” said Ed Desmond, TIA executive vice president of external affairs. “TIA and its members are committed to safety — we work year-round to ensure that toys are designed and produced with safety in mind. We proudly support the efforts of these federal agencies to identify and seize products that could put a child at risk.”
CTAC combines resources, personnel and expertise from various government agencies to protect the American public from harm caused by unsafe imported products. The CTAC accomplishes this through better communication, information-sharing and by reducing redundant inspection activities.
“Interagency collaboration at the CTAC truly exemplifies working together as one U.S. Government at the border to protect American consumers,” said Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Center Director, Petrina Evans. “The Center of Excellence and Expertise will leverage these agency partnerships to drive greater trade facilitation and product compliance.”