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U.S. Customs and Border Protection seeing increase in unapproved COVID-19 products

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have seen an increase in unapproved or counterfeit COVID-19 test kits, the agency said in a statement Friday.

At O’Hare’s International Mail Facility, CBP has seized 11 shipments containing 1,147 prohibited test kits valued at $10,487.

“These products have serious consequences to everyone,” said Hans Leiterman, Assistant Area Port Director, Chicago, in the statement. “CBP seizures of illegally imported merchandise helps protect the health and safety of U.S. citizens.”

In Cincinnati, CBP has seized 62 shipments totaling 29,438 kits with a value of $588,760. Fifty-two shipments are still awaiting FDA review.

In Louisville, CPB has seized 16 shipments containing 187 “Virus Shutout” lanyards, which claim to protect against coronavirus and often contain the hazardous pesticide Chloride Dioxide.

“This pesticide can leech into the skin on contact, cause breathing issues, and lead to additional health concerns for the wearer,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director, Louisville. “The Shutout devices often lead to a false sense of security and in no way protects the bearer from the Coronavirus.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced in March that it was working with CBP to keep the devices out of the hands of consumers.

“It is critical that people only use EPA-registered disinfectants and follow label directions for proper use,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud in a statement on March 25. “EPA will not tolerate companies selling illegal disinfectants and making false or misleading public health claims during this pandemic crisis.”

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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