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Agents Nab Chinese-Made Plastic Ducks With Phthalate Levels Higher Than Allowed In U.S.

by Cheryl Hogue
December 17, 2012 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 90, Issue 51

Credit: CBP
These are some of the 35,712 toy ducks seized by customs agents.
This is a photo of some of the 35,712 holiday ducks CBP officials seized on Dec. 4 after determining that the toys contained a regulated phthalate in excess of the limit which may be harmful to the health and safety of children.
Credit: CBP
These are some of the 35,712 toy ducks seized by customs agents.

Plastic toy ducks decked out as Santas, reindeer, penguins, gingerbread men, and snowmen were seized by federal officials early this month after arriving in California from China. The toy ducks contain phthalates at levels that may harm children, according to U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP). In the raid at the Los Angeles-Long Beach Seaport, CBP worked with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to enforce a congressionally mandated ban on toys and child care items with more than 0.1% of any of three chemicals used to soften plastics: di(2-ethyl­hexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate, and benzyl butyl phthalate. The ducks contain between about 8 and 12% DEHP, depending on their style, a spokeswoman for CPSC tells C&EN. The seizure of the plastic ducks, CBP says, kept unsafe products out of stores and consumers’ homes.


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