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CBP Seizes Lead-Contaminated Children's Halloween Costumes in Seattle

Release Date: 
October 16, 2012

Seattle - U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigators recently seized two shipments of children's Halloween pirate costumes for containing eleven times the legal limit of lead.

CBP in partnership with CPSC seized more than 1,000 child Halloween costumes due to lead count.

CBP in partnership with CPSC seized more than 1,000 child Halloween costumes due to lead count.

The shipments originated in China, and were destined for a distributor in the Seattle area. The costumes - 229 cartons containing 1,371 retail units - are valued at more than $10,000.

CBP staff targeted the shipments for intensive examination, and took samples which were submitted to the CPSC. When CPSC tested the samples, it found that they contained unacceptable levels of lead, in violation of the Federal Hazardous Substances Act. Laboratory analysis found that parts of the pirate costumes (buttons) contained 1,109 parts per million (ppm) of lead; the acceptable level is just 100 ppm.

"CBP and CPSC are responsible for keeping a wide variety of harmful products from reaching the American marketplace," said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Area Port Director Mark Wilkerson. "Our collaborative efforts have prevented children from being exposed to potentially dangerous levels of lead contaminants."

"CPSC has put strong regulations in place to protect kids from lead paint and lead content in children's products. This is another great example of the effectiveness of the partnership between CPSC and CBP in protecting the U.S. consumer from hazardous or harmful products," added Hank Tapy, Director, Western Region, Import Surveillance, CPSC.

CBP works with CPSC to prevent hazardous or harmful products from entering U.S. ports and reaching American consumers. In fiscal year 2011, 9,683 shipments with import safety trade violations, with an estimated domestic value of more than $23 million, were seized by CBP in coordination with CPSC at ports of entry across the country.

The shipments of lead-contaminated costumes ultimately will be destroyed.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017