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  Safe products - an overviewslide

As a citizen of the European Union you should not have to worry about the safety of a product, whether you buy it in your home country or in another EU country.

How do we ensure that only safe products are sold?

  • There are general rules on product safety requiring producers and distributors to place only safe products on the market.

    For certain products, specific safety rules are laid down, such as for Toys, Electrical equipment (low voltage equipment), Cosmetics, and Pharmaceuticals.

    Every day we consume, use, or simply come into contact with countless different products. We should be confident that those products are safe. This is not always the case. Sometimes people get injured using dangerous products. The producer is obliged to take appropriate measures to eliminate danger.

  • We monitor the market : Rules alone are not enough. They have to be enforced. That is the responsibility of the Member States. Therefore each Member State has nominated authorities who are responsible for market surveillance. They have to check that products meet the safety requirements, and if they don’t, the authorities have the power to take corrective actions, bring products into compliance with the safety requirements, or impose penalties if necessary.

  • We use standards: The development of European standards is a way of helping to protect the health and safety of European citizens. European standards are voluntary agreements which define criteria for products and services.

  • We gather information: To make consumer policy effective in the area of safety of goods and services, it is important to have relevant information and data to identify which product categories are causing problems. This includes collecting data from hospital casualty departments on injuries related to dangerous products.

  • We co-operate internationally: In the field of product safety, we work both with regulators and enforcers around the world and with business and consumer representatives worldwide.

  • Chemicals are part of our everyday lives. They bring about improvements to our health and quality of life, e.g. through pharmaceuticals. But they may also present a risk to human health and the environment. To minimise the risk, it is essential to gather information about the negative effects on humans. The Commission has therefore launched a project to develop a European information system on risks from chemicals in consumer products,
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What happens if an unsafe product is found?

  • We react rapidly: Several mechanisms and procedures have been put in place at EU level to help the Member States to monitor the product market. The Rapid Alert System (RAPEX) is one of these. It allows quick transfer of information on products presenting serious risks.



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