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Chinese toys, clothing top EU's 2015 list of unsafe products

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Chinese toys, clothing top EU's 2015 list of unsafe products

Toys - RAPEX - Photo EC

Toys and clothing top the list of dangerous products for which the EU issued Europe-wide alerts last year, while China remains the number one country of origin on the EU's alert system.

The European Commission published figures Monday which show that, in 2015, more than 2,000 dangerous products triggered EU-wide alerts through RAPEX, the EU's 'rapid alert system'.

'RAPEX' means that when one Member State posts an alert, other countries can spot the product on their market and react speedily to the initial alert.

The EU's consumer affairs Commissioner Vera Jourova, presenting the report, said a key challenge for the Commission was to identify online sales which bring products from outside the EU through mail into consumers' households that may not have been subjected to safety verification.

The other major challenge was to increase cooperation with China, which is the exporter of 62 per cent of the notified dangerous products. China is the EU's largest source of imports.

China has followed up on 11,540 notifications to date, says the Commission, and taken corrective measures in 3,748 cases. In many cases, however, tracing the source of the product remains difficult.

Collaboration with the Chinese authorities continues to be a priority, says Ms Jourova, and is done within the 'Rapid Alert System China' mechanism: each notification concerning a product of Chinese origin is sent to the Chinese administration, so that they address the issue with the manufacturer or exporter directly if these economic operators are traceable.

Ms Jourova is due to visit China in June to discuss product safety with her Chinese counterparts.

Which products are posing risks?

In 2015, toys (27%) and clothing, textiles and fashion items (17%) were the two main product categories for which corrective measures had to be taken. These were already the most notified products the year before. As far as risks are concerned, in 2015, the most frequently notified risk (25% of the total of the notifications) was chemical risk, followed bythe risk of injuries (22%), which was at the top of the list in the previous report.

The most frequent chemical risks notified in 2015 related to products such as fashion jewellery, with harmful heavy metals like nickel and lead, and toys containing phthalates (plastic softeners which can cause fertility problems).

The Rapid Alert system

Since 2003, the EU's Rapid Alert system ensures that information about dangerous non-food products withdrawn from the market and/or recalled anywhere in Europe is quickly circulated between EU Member States and the European Commission. Appropriate follow-up action, such as a ban/stop of sales, withdrawal, recall or import rejection by customs authorities, can be taken everywhere in the EU.

Thirty-one countries (the EU together with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) currently participate in the system.

Further information:

Full report


Rapid Alert system search page

Rapid Alert system weekly reports

Source: European Commission

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