Tonio Borg, Commissioner in charge of Health and Consumer Policy, said: "Thanks to stronger EU co-operation consumers can count on better safety in the internal market. Europe continuously demonstrates increased capability in protecting all European citizens from dangerous non-food products. The RAPEX system is a key component in the EU's efforts to protect consumers. Results of enforcement actions over 2012 demonstrate increased vigilance but we must always strive for improvement. This is why earlier this year the Commission tabled new legislative proposals on product safety and market surveillance".
The five most frequently notified product categories include:
34% clothing, textiles and fashion items (dangerous design, ie cords or use of carcinogenic components)
11% electrical appliances and equipment;
8% motor vehicles;
Among the most notified risks caused by these products were chemical hazards, a danger of strangulation and injuries such as choking or electric shocks.
Risks of injuries and strangulation are often identified in children's clothing with drawstrings and cords, e.g. 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 38.5% by weight of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) posing a chemical risk.
Five countries accounted for 56% of the all notifications. The UK made 146 notifications (8 per cent) and was among the most frequent notifying countries, which were:
Hungary (294 notifications, 15%)
Bulgaria (271 notifications, 14%)
Spain (199 notifications, 10%)
Germany (167 notifications, 9%)
China (including Hong Kong) still represents the number one country of origin in the alert system, with 58% of the total number of notifications on products presenting a serious risk.
To improve this situation, the EU is working bilaterally with China on the exchange of information between the authorities and communication activities. The EU and China will soon release a series of videos targeting Chinese manufacturers and European importers, providing product safety information.