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200,000 Chinese toy dolls deemed dangerous, seized at U.S. ports

By CNN Staff
November 19, 2013 -- Updated 2142 GMT (0542 HKT)
U.S. authorities have seized more than 200,000 toy dolls from China, saying they contain high levels of phthalates, a group of banned chemical compounds. U.S. authorities have seized more than 200,000 toy dolls from China, saying they contain high levels of phthalates, a group of banned chemical compounds.
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Dolls from China seized
Dolls from China seized
Dolls from China seized
Dolls from China seized
Dolls from China seized
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More than 200,000 dolls from China allegedly contain banned chemicals
  • The 10 shipments are valued at almost $500,000, authorities say
  • Investigators used "advanced technology" to track down the shipments, officials say
  • U.S. Toy Industry Association praises seizure

(CNN) -- More than 200,000 dolls from China, apparently shipped for holiday gift-giving, won't be going to any American children because U.S. authorities seized the shipments and alleged the toys contained banned chemical compounds, officials said Tuesday.

The toys contained high levels of phthalates, which are chemical plasticizers used to make materials softer and more pliable, authorities said. Congress has banned the chemical in children's toys.

The U.S. Commercial Targeting and Analysis Center began targeting the shipments in April because they threatened children's safety, authorities said.

"Using advanced technology to track certain shipments before they reach our shores is helping CPSC better protect America's consumers," Consumer Product Safety Commission Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said in a statement.

U.S. authorities didn't identify the manufacturer of the toys Tuesday.

A total of 10 shipments valued at almost $500,000 were seized at the ports of Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; Norfolk, Virginia; Memphis, Tennessee; Newark, New Jersey; Portland, Oregon; and Savannah, Georgia, authorities said.

Tenenbaum said her agency and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection have been targeting dangerous imports at several major ports through the use of a risk management system. Those efforts resulted in the seizure of more than 1.1 million unsafe products last fiscal year, authorities said. At the same time, the system also allows "for faster processing of compliant products," she said.

"Expanding our port surveillance program is key to preventing injuries and achieving our long-term vision," Tenenbaum said.

The U.S. toy industry lauded the seizure of the dangerous Chinese-made merchandise.

"The Toy Industry Association commends CBP and CPSC for their diligence and hard work at the ports to ensure that products violating strict federal safety laws never reach consumers," Ed Desmond, the group's executive vice president of external affairs, said in a statement.

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