RAPEX (Rapid information system) enables information to be quickly disseminated between the 30 participating countries on potentially dangerous consumer products. This allows earlier identification and earlier removal from EU markets of products that could pose a risk to consumers, such as children's clothing, textiles and electrical appliances which do not meet safety standards.
The five most frequently notified product categories were:
34% clothing, textiles and fashion items (dangerous design, ie cords or use of carcinogenic components)
11% electrical appliances and equipment;
8% motor vehicles;
Risks of injuries and strangulation are often identified in children's clothing with drawstrings and cords, eg in swimwear.
Other examples of products banned in the EU in 2012 include a skin lightening product which contained hydroquinone (its use is prohibited in cosmetics and personal hygiene products) and a plastic doll containing a high level of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) posing a chemical hazard. Other risks include choking and electric shocks.
China (including Hong Kong) still represents the number one country of origin in the alert system being responsible for 58% of the total number of notifications on products presenting a serious risk. Consequently, the EU is continuing to work with the Chinese authorities on the exchange of information and communication activities, including the release of a series of videos targeting Chinese manufacturers and European importers on product safety information. It should be noted that some 90% of toys imported into the EU originate in China.