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36,000 rubber ducks seized for excessive phthalate levels

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Nearly 36,000 rubber ducks en route from China were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers because of potentially dangerous chemical levels.

Decorated ducks decked out for the holidays were snatched by specialists at Southern California ports on Dec. 4, according to Friday's CBP news release.

They arrived from China dressed as Santa, Snowman, Gingerbread man, Reindeer and Penguin, all 35,712, but their cute holiday flair did not deflect the scrutiny of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists, at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.

Customs officials collaborated with the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission in determining the toys' phthalate level. Explains CBP:

Phthalates are a group of chemicals (oily, colorless liquids) that are used among other things to make vinyl and other plastics soft and flexible.

CPSC regulation prohibits the sale, distribution or importation into the United States of any children’s toy or child care article that contains concentrations of more than 0.1 percent of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), or benzyl butyl phthalate (BBP).

Officials report the domestic value of the ducks at $18,522.

With contributions from AP

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