Thousands of children’s toys containing dangerous levels of lead have been intercepted and seized in Melbourne as part of a joint agency operation by Australian Customs and the ACCC.
The toys were bound for weekend markets and discount stores when they were intercepted by the Customs and Border Protection Service.
In the lead up to Christmas, Australian Customs and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have been testing targeted shipments of imported toys.
More than 500 tests were conducted on 165 samples and thousands of toys have been seized. Excessive lead levels were discovered in counterfeit Ben 10 figures, camouflage tommy guns, boxing gloves and a ride-on motorcycle.
Toys with levels of migratable lead of more than 90mg/kg are prohibited under import and supply laws in Australia. Migratable lead is what children can swallow or absorb through the skin and cause illness and developmental delays.
Customs and Border Protection Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Neil Mann said 4918 toys were seized during the joint operation – all of the toys will be destroyed.
The ACCC’s deputy chairman, Peter Kell, said: “A total of 480 packages of counterfeit Ben 10 toys were seized, with each package containing some figures with lead levels up to double the legal limit. This was the importer’s first attempt to bring the Ben 10 counterfeits into Australia and they were going to the weekend market sector and discount stores.”
Mr Kell added, “The ACCC has confirmed that genuine Ben 10 toys sold through major department stores comply with the law and are safe.”
“Evidence indicates that well-known toy brands are now making sure their toys are safe, after major recalls in 2007-2008. However, since then, unsafe levels of lead in toys have been detected in Australia and overseas at the discount end of the market.”
Source: Australian Customs and Border Protection Service & ACCC