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Customs Agents Seize Toys Full Of Lead, Other Dangerous Chemicals

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Seized Toys

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have seized shipments of FBI Action Play Sets for high lead levels, and plastic light musical balls for high phthalate levels. (Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Some toys imported from China won’t make it under Chicago area Christmas trees, after Customs and Border Protection officers found they were full of lead and other toxic chemicals.

U.S. Customs and Border Border Protection is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission this season to find shipments that are unsafe.

In November, Customs and Border Protection agents seized a shipment of FBI Action Play Sets that had been shipped to Chicago from China, after the Consumer Product Safety Commission tested them and found they had excessive lead levels.

A total of 47,700 FBI Action Play Sets worth more than $8,760 were seized by Customs and Border Border Protection agents.

Lead can cause brain damage, delayed mental and physical development, attention and learning disabilities, and hearing problems.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission also tested a shipment of musical balls that were shipped to Chicago from China, and found they had excessive levels of phthalates – organic compounds that are used as additives to soften plastics. Congress banned phthalates from toys three years ago.

A child could chew on one of the balls and end up ingesting phthalates, Customs and Border Border Protection warned.

There were 4,720 toy balls in the shipment, which was valued at more than $3,190, Customs and Border Patrol said.

“During this season of giving, our job is to secure this country from all that would harm it, which sometimes includes unsafe toys,” Chicago Customs and Border Border Protection Director of Field Operations David Murphy said in a news release.

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