Friday, June 8, 2012

Lead-Tainted Shoes Seized at Tacoma

US Customs and Border Protection has seized hundreds of pairs of children's shoes brought in through the Port of Tacoma that were tainted with three times the allowable amount of lead, the federal agency revealed June 6.

After the shipment was targeted by Customs officials at Tacoma for examination, samples were taken and tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Laboratory analysis found the shoes contained 300 parts per million of lead; the acceptable level is 100 ppm.

The shipment, according to Customs, originated in China, and had been designated for a Seattle-area distributor. If not intercepted, the shoes, which are valued at more than $23,000, according to Customs, would likely have wound up on store shelves.

“One of CBP’s missions is keeping a wide variety of harmful products from reaching the American marketplace,” US CBP Area Port Director Mark Wilkerson said. “Lead-contaminated children’s footwear is one such product.”

In fiscal year 2011, over 9,100 shipments of lead-contaminated products with an estimated domestic value of more than $24 million were seized by CBP in coordination with CPSC at ports of entry across the country, according to Customs.

The shipment of contaminated footwear will eventually be destroyed, CBP says. The agency did not identify the shipper or the distributor the shoes had been designated for.