US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Archived Content

In an effort to keep CBP.gov current, the archive contains content from a previous administration or is otherwise outdated.

CBP Turns Off Importations of Unsafe Holiday Lights

Release Date: 
December 22, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seized thousands of decorative lights this holiday season that could have caused fires or electric shocks. The potentially dangerous holiday lights were identified through a nationwide targeting operation by the CBP Import Safety Commercial Analysis and Targeting Center (CTAC).

 

CBP officers seized 151 life-size decorative lights of Santa Claus, a snowman and a polar bear with electrical adapters containing counterfeit Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) markings.

CBP officers seized 151 life-size decorative lights of Santa Claus, a snowman and a polar bear with electrical adapters containing counterfeit Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) markings.

As a result of the targeting operation, CBP officers in the port of San Juan, Puerto Rico, seized a shipment of 5,700 sets of holiday lights with undersized wires that could overheat and cause fires or become exposed and cause electric shocks. In the port of Los Angeles, the operation resulted in the seizure of 151 life-sized illuminated holiday figurines bearing counterfeit Underwriter Laboratories, Inc. (UL) markings, indicating that the lights did not undergo a valid UL evaluation for potential risk of fire, shock, and personal injury. The domestic value of both shipments is estimated to be nearly $160,000.

"Ensuring the safety of imported merchandise is a top priority for CBP," said Allen Gina, CBP's assistant commissioner for international trade. "The concerted targeting efforts of CTAC and the vigilance of CBP officers at our ports of entry will help ensure that decorative lights are safe and add to the joy of the holiday season as intended."

 

Products bearing counterfeit UL certification marks have not undergone the rigorous testing and certification process and can present potential safety hazards to the end user

Products bearing counterfeit UL certification marks have not undergone the rigorous testing and certification process and can present potential safety hazards to the end user

The joint targeting operation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) focused on identifying and stopping the importation of unsafe Christmas tree lighting sets, outdoor lights, decorative lighting strings and extension cords. The CPSC reports that there were five household electrocution deaths associated with holiday lights during the six year span between 2002 and 2007.

To ensure the safety of imported electrical products, CPSC is working closely with CBP to identify potentially unsafe shipments for CBP to check at ports of entry. CPSC has established permanent staffing at the CTAC in Washington, DC, and is working with CBP at select ports to stop unsafe imports from entering the commerce of the U.S.

The CTAC combines resources and personnel from various government agencies to protect the American public from harm caused by unsafe imported products. The center accomplishes this through better communication, information-sharing, and by reducing redundant inspection activities.

For additional information on the CTAC and import safety, please go to the Priority Trade Issues website.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017