30,000 'Virus Shut Out' Necklaces Seized; Packaging Promised to Create Clouds Preventing COVID

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers seized 30,000 "Virus Shut Out" necklaces from China that claimed to prevent coronavirus infection for wearers by producing anti-viral clouds, the CBP said Thursday.

Border agents found three undeclared pallets of the wearables inside a tractor trailer passing through the Nogales, Arizona, border station into Mexico on April 16, the CBP's statement said. The lanyard-like devices contained a blue parcel of chlorine dioxide, which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says can cause respiratory irritation, breathing difficulty and chronic bronchitis after prolonged exposure.

After an initial detainment and examination of the goods, agents seized the products for violation of federal pesticide laws.

The CBP was contacted by Newsweek for comment but was unavailable for a response before publication.

An appraisal by the CBP's Centers of Excellence and Expertise valued the necklaces at $479,700 domestically. Officers also seized more than $24,000 worth of merchandise and clothing with counterfeit trademarks.

The necklace packaging includes 16 cautionary statements, including warnings to not put the product "in your underwear." Warnings also said it can bleach clothes and cause corrosion and rust "on or near metal objects."

The "Virus Shut Out" packaging states the product was manufactured by the Yiwu Haoyi Biotechnology Co. Ltd., located in Yiwu in the Zhejiang province of eastern China. The website for a seemingly related Yiwu Howell Biotechnology Co. Ltd. says it specializes in the production of cockroach powder, mosquito killer liquid, mosquito killer mats, mouse powder and insect spray.

Yiwu Howell Biotechnology did not respond to requests from Newsweek for comment in time for publication.

The CBP included a warning in its media release on the potential dangers of goods like the "Virus Shut Out" necklaces.

"In addition to posing potential health and safety hazards, counterfeit goods are often of inferior quality," the release said. "Peeling labels, low-quality ink or printing errors on the packaging, and loosely packed items in the box can be signs that the product you purchased may not be legitimate."

The release also provided a series of precautionary measures that people can take to protect themselves against counterfeit products, such as reading reviews from other customers and buying directly from retailers and trademark holders. It also warned that if a product's price "seems too good to be true, it probably is."

Border Patrol Officer
A family of asylum seekers from Colombia boards a vehicle after they turned themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents on May 13 in Yuma, Arizona. Apu Gomes/Getty Images