Children’s pirate Halloween costumes from China seized for having lead levels ELEVEN times the legal limit

By Snejana Farberov

PUBLISHED:16:56 EST, 16  October 2012| UPDATED:17:10 EST, 16 October 2012

Tainted threads: Two shipments of girls' pirate costumes worth $10,000 were seized for having lead levels 11 times the legal limit
Tainted threads: Two shipments of girls’ pirate costumes  worth $10,000 were seized for having lead levels 11 times the legal limit

Federal agents seized nearly 1,400  Chinese-made children’s pirate Halloween costumes worth $10,000 because they  contained 11 times the legal amount of lead.

The toxic costumes seized by U.S. Customs and  Border Protection (CBP) agents were part of two shipments bound for a Seattle  area distributor.

According to the Consumer Product Safety  Commission, the pink buttons and trim on the little girls’ outfits contained  1,109 parts per million of lead. The legal limit is 100 part per  million.

The Halloween getups, called Pink Punk Pirate, included a black dress trimmed with faux leather lacing  and pink  ribbons, a buccaneer’s hat and waist scarf.

If children wearing the costumes  were  to put the buttons or trim in their mouths, they would have been exposed to the  toxic substance, officials said.

Two hundred and twenty nine boxes containing  the 1,371 costumes were diverted  to a warehouse for testing in September, and  the illegal levels of lead  were confirmed this week. All of the tainted  products will be destroyed.

The shipment from China  was targeted for  inspection because of a past violation from the  manufacturer, according to CBP  spokesperson Mike Milne.

Toxic trim: Buttons and other embellishments on the pirate costumes contained 1,109 parts per million of lead, while the maximum legal limit is 100 part per million
Toxic trim: Buttons and other embellishments on the  pirate costumes contained 1,109 parts per million of lead, while the maximum  legal limit is 100 part per million
Toxic: The pink and black getups packaged in 229 boxes were en route to a Seattle area distributor
Toxic: The pink and black getups packaged in 229 boxes  were en route to a Seattle area distributor
Dangerous: The Halloween getups also featured a plastic earpiece, seen here inserted into a cylinder meant to simulate a child's airway, which was a choking hazardDangerous: The Halloween getups also featured a plastic  earpiece, seen here inserted into a cylinder meant to simulate a child’s airway,  which was a choking hazard

Investigators also said a plastic earpiece on  the costume was a choking hazard, Q13Foxreported.

Inspectors all over the country will now pull  any shipments of the costumes from any port where they may have been  sent.

CBP seized more than 9,000 shipments of  lead-contaminated products in 2011 at a total value of more than  $24million.

Officials inspecting products entering the  U.S. have at their disposal handheld scanners that reveal the chemical makeup of  the merchandise, allowing them to detect toxic substances like lead.

High-tech gadget: Inspectors use a scanner that reveals the chemical composition of products being shipped into the U.S. High-tech gadget: Inspectors use a scanner that reveals  the chemical composition of products being shipped into the U.S.

Drastic: All 1,371 tainted pirate costumes from China will be destroyed to prevent kids' exposure to lead Drastic: All 1,371 tainted pirate costumes from China  will be destroyed to prevent kids’ exposure to lead

Lead poisoning can cause vomiting, coma or  convulsions. Exposure to even low levels of lead can result in learning  disabilities and make it more difficult for kids to concentrate.

Health  Today reported that in May, Centers  of Disease Control and Prevention lowered the threshold level for lead poisoning  in children from 10 micrograms per deciliter down to five.

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