Rubber Ducks Seized At U.S. Border

Officials Determine Harmful Amounts Of Chemical Phthalate

Rubber Ducks Seized At U.S. BorderMore than 35,000 holiday-themed rubber ducks were seized at the Port of Los Angeles this week after customs officials determined they contained a potentially harmful amount of the chemical phthalate. The ducks, which were shipped from China, are valued at $18,000 and decorated as reindeer, snowmen, gingerbread men and penguins.

"This seizure reflects the unprecedented level of collaboration between the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)," said Todd Owen, a CBP official. "CBP incorporates CPSC expertise directly in identifying potentially unsafe products arriving in shipments at the Los Angeles and Long Beach seaport."

Phthalates, which are often added to plastics to increase flexibility and durability, can pose health risks in high doses, experts say. Some federal agencies have loosely linked phthalates to cancer and reproductive issues, although research is inconclusive. Currently, the CPSC does not allow the distribution and importing of any children's product that is composed of more than 0.1% of phthalate.

Since 2009, the CBP and CPSC have stopped about 2,400 different types of children's items from entering the U.S. for falling short of various federal safety standards.