Feds Aim to Halt U.S. Importers of Dangerous Children's Products
Four California-based companies allegedly have been importing and selling hazardous toys. After multiple notices from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) allegedly were ignored, the organization sought the U.S. Department of Justice's assistance to end the unlawful imports.
The federal government filed complaint to stop the manufacturers/retailers from importing dangerous children's products Monday, according to federal court records. Authorities believe the companies' operations are associated with one another.
"Companies cannot be allowed to import hazardous toys into the United States," Stuart F. Delery, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice's Civil Division, said in a statement. "Parents have a right to feel confident that the toys their children play with are safe."
The four companies and six people responsible for running those businesses were named as defendants in the complaint that charged each with nine counts of violating the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and/or Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA). They include Los Angeles-based Toys Distribution Inc. aka TDI International Inc., its owners Loan Tuyet Thai and Lan My Lam and its manager Paul Phuong; S & J Merchandise Inc., El Monte, Calif., and its owner Cuc T. Thai; BLJ Apparel Inc., South El Monte, Calif., and its owner Luan Luu; and All Season Sales Inc., Montebillo, Calif, and its owner Tom Liu, who also manages S & J.
The CPSC has been collecting samples from the companies' imported goods at the Port of Los Angeles/Long Beach or its respective facility from as far back as May 2008 in TDI's case in which 61 of the 66 samples allegedly were found to be in violation, according to the complaint. All but one of the other three companies' 34 samples also are believed to have been non-compliant. CPSC sent a total of 38 letters of advice, advising the businesses of the non-compliant factors found that included illegal lead and/or phthalates levels, small parts in toys intended for children age 3 or younger, rattles that could cause choking or suffocation, and lack of certification for required third-party testing and/or tracking labels. Affected toys included cars, dolls, kitchen and police sets, musical instruments, rattles and telephones.
S & J, BLJ and All Season Sales, along with Liu and Luu, have agreed to settle and be bound by a Consent Decree of Permanent Injunction that enjoins them from violating the CPSA and FHSA, according to a Department of Justice press release. The decree is pending judicial approval while the lawsuit continues against the rest of the defendants.
"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. "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."