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35,000 rubber ducks in Santa, reindeer outfits seized at L.A. port

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They may have had better luck on Santa’s sleigh, but more than 35,000 holiday-themed rubber ducks from China were detained by U.S. Customs officials at the Port of Los Angeles.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized the ducks -- dressed as snowmen, gingerbread men, penguins and reindeer -- which were valued at $18,522, after determining they contained the chemical phthalate in excess of the limit which may be harmful to children.

Phthalates are used to make vinyl and other plastics soft and flexible, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said in a statement. Consumer officials prohibit the sale, distribution and import of any child’s toy or child care item that contains concentrations of more than 0.1% of phthalate.

In the last four years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Customs and Border Protection stopped more than 8.5 million units of about 2,400 different toys and children’s products due to safety hazards or failure to meet federal safety standards, officials said.

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-- Adolfo Flores


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