U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced recently that they have seized more than 35,000 holiday-themed rubber ducks which were dressed as snowmen, gingerbread men, penguins and reindeer due to excessive levels of phthalates.
The ducks, which were valued at $18,522, were found to have phthalate levels in excess of the limit which may be harmful to children. Phthalates are chemical plasticizers that are often used in the production of certain kinds of plastics, as well as some inks, solvents, and other products. In the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008, Congress banned six phthalates from children's toys and cosmetics in any amounts greater than one percent. But that hasn't stopped some manufacturers from trying to squeak their toxic toys through the system and onto store shelves.
According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, in the last four years, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and Customs and Border Protection have seized more than 8.5 million toys and children’s products due to safety hazards or failure to meet federal safety standards.