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Stronger EU cooperation leads to greater consumer safety
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Published on 15-05-13

A total of 2,278 alerts concerning dangerous non-food products were made by member states during 2012 according to the latest report on RAPEX, the EU's early warning alert system. This is a 26% rise in the number of notifications compared to 2011 figures which can be attributed to the improved enforcement work carried out by the authorities in the 30 participating countries. The UK was responsible for 8% of all notifications.

    Stronger  EU cooperation leads to greater consumer safety

    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)

    19%    toys;

    11%    electrical appliances and equipment;

    8%     motor vehicles;

    4%     cosmetics

    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.

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    Last update: 23/05/2013  |Top