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Tuesday, April 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Feds Round Up Dangerous Imported Toys

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The federal government found unsafe levels of lead and other toxins and dangers in 61 of 66 imported toys they inspected at four California companies' warehouses, federal prosecutors say in a lawsuit.

U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. sued four companies and six people in Federal Court. They want these defendants ordered to stop importing and selling the children's toys: Toys Distribution Inc. dba TDI International, and its officers Loan Tuyet Thai, Lan My Lam and Paul Phuong; S & J Merchandise Inc. and its officer Cuc T. Thai; BLJ Apparel Inc. and its officer Luan Luu; and All Seasons Sales Inc. and its officer Tom Liu.

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission inspectors have collected 66 samples of TDI's consumer since 2008 at TDI's warehouses at the Port of Loa Angeles/Long Beach and Los Angeles, the complaint states. It continues: "In total the

CPSC found 61 of these samples to be children's products in violation of CPSC

statutes and regulations. The violative samples included children's products and toys with illegal levels of total lead content, lead paint, and phthalates; toys intended for children under three years of age that contain small parts; infant rattles which may cause choking and/or suffocation; and children's products and toys lacking required certification based on third-party testing and lacking tracking labels. The

CPSC issued a total of 23 Letters of Advice ('LOAs') from June 14, 2008 to

September 14, 2011, notifying the TDI defendants of the violations."

Toys Distribution imported motorized and "pull-back" toy cars with impermissible levels of lead and small parts hazards, toy musical instruments with small parts, dolls with illegal levels of lead and phthalates, and rattles that failed to meet the infant rattle standards, according to the Justice Department.

S & J Merchandise's illegal toys included numerous models of toys cars, a toy telephone, and plastic dolls. All Seasons Sales' unsafe toys included a children's kitchen set and police set that both exceeded the lead content limit, according to the Justice Department.

"CPSC and our federal law enforcement partners are committed to keeping dangerous toys out of the marketplace all year long," CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler said in a statement accompanying the 27-page lawsuit. "Manufacturers, importers and retailers need to know that CPSC and the Justice Department are actively enforcing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a law that has strengthened the nation's product safety net."

S & J Merchandise, BLJ Apparel and All Season Sales, and individual defendants Tom Liu and Luan Luu agreed to settle the litigation and be bound by a consent decree enjoining them from committing violations of the CPSA and FHSA, according to the Justice Department.

The proposed consent decree has not yet been filed with the court for judicial approval. Toys Distribution and individual defendants Loan Tuyet Thai, Lan My Lam, Paul Phuong and Cuc T. Thai have not agreed to a settlement.

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