PORTLAND, Ore. – Federal officials seized more than 200,000 toy dolls at ports in Portland and other cities because they had high levels of a chemical banned in the United States.
The ten shipments of toy baby dolls contained high levels of phthalates, according U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials. All of the dolls were from China.
Phthalates are banned in children’s toys in the United States. American toy producers stopped using them in 1999, although the chemicals are found in other consumer products.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the exact health effects of phthalates aren’t exactly known, although the chemical is “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.”
Customs officials worked with Consumer Product Safety Commission investigators to test and seize the tows. They started targeting shipments in April after identifying several as “high risk.”
In additional to seizing toys in Portland, items were also confiscated in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Norfolk, Va., Memphis, Tenn., Newark, N.J. and Savannah, Ga.
“Using advanced technology to track certain shipments before they reach our shores is helping CPSC better protect America’s consumers,” CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in a statement.
CPSC investigators are stationed at several ports around the country to work directly with customs officials.
In this case, the 200,000 toy dolls were worth $500,000. In 2012, the CPSC seized more than 1.1 million products they deemed unsafe.