A federal court permanently enjoined Puerto Rican companies Pharmacare Inc., China District PR LLC, as well as their owner, Juan Reynoso, from importing children’s toys and other consumer products that violate the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA) among other laws.
In a complaint filed on Sept. 15, the United States alleged that Pharmacare, China District, and Reynoso violated the CPSA, FHSA and other related statutes and regulations by importing and selling children’s products that contained illegal levels of lead and phthalates.
According to the complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, since 2017 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) collected a total of 116 illegal children’s and other consumer products from the defendants’ import shipments and retail locations in Puerto Rico. Those samples, including 32 from Pharmacare and 84 from China District, contained a total of 296 violations of federal law, including children’s products containing illegal levels of lead or phthalates, and products such as bicycle helmets, rattles and pacifiers that failed to meet various safety or labeling requirements. Based on its findings, the CPSC issued 10 notices of violation to Pharmacare and 15 notices to China District, notifying them that their products violated federal law.
“Products sold to consumers – especially those intended for children – must be safe,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The department is committed to ensuring that companies importing and selling toys and other consumer products comply with CPSC regulations and federal law.”
“I’m delighted to see the settlement of this important case that will protect children from being exposed to dangerous chemicals in their toys,” said Acting Chairman Robert S. Adler of the CPSC. “I thank CPSC and the Justice Department staff for their tireless efforts on behalf of vulnerable children.”
“There is no greater responsibility of the Department of Justice than to protect our children,” said U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow for the District of Puerto Rico. “Companies cannot be allowed to import hazardous toys and children’s products into Puerto Rico. We take this responsibility very seriously and will take the necessary action to keep unsafe products out of the hands of our children. I appreciate and value the support from and collaboration with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
The consent decree, which resolves the case against all defendants, generally requires that the defendants stop importing children’s toys and certain other consumer products until the defendants implement numerous remedial measures to bring their operations into compliance with the law. These requirements include, among other things, hiring an independent product safety coordinator, conducting an audit of all imported merchandise in inventory for compliance with the CPSA, FHSA, and related laws and implementing a written product safety program. The defendants may resume importing children’s and other consumer products only after implementing these measures and demonstrating that their operations fully comply with federal law.
Trial Attorney Lauren M. Elfner of the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch is handling the case with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney David Martorani for the District of Puerto Rico and Renee McCune of the CPSC’s Office of the General Counsel.