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European Commission

Press release

Brussels, 16 May 2013

Stronger EU cooperation leads to higher consumer safety

In 2012, a total of 2,278 measures against dangerous non-food products, were taken by Member States and reported in the EU Rapid Information system (RAPEX). This indicates a 26% rise in alerts when compared to 2011 figures, an increase that could be attributed to the improved enforcement work carried out by the authorities in EU countries.

RAPEX is the EU rapid alert system between Member States and the Commission on non-food products. Its role is to disseminate information quickly on potentially dangerous consumer products. This allows for 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.

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".

Which products are posing risks?

In 2012, clothing, textiles and fashion items (34%), followed by toys (19%), were the main product categories for which corrective measures had to be taken. Among the most frequently notified risks caused by these products were chemical risks, risk of strangulation and risk of injury.

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. Businesses should ensure that these well-known risks are taken into account before production.

Where are they coming from?

China still represents the number one country of origin in the alert system. Last year, 58% of the total number of notifications on products presenting a serious risk, were related to products coming from China.

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.

RAPEX 2012 in numbers

2,278 number of notifications

30 number of participating countries (EU +Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein)

5 most frequently notified product categories in 2012:

34% Clothing, textiles and fashion items;

19% Toys;

11% Electrical appliances and equipment;

8% Motor vehicles;

4% Cosmetics

Notifications by country of origin of the notified product:

58% China including Hong Kong;

17% EU-27 and EEA countries;

11% unknown;

14% other

For more information, please see:

MEMO/13/438

Link to our website: http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/news/index_en.htm

Contacts :

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)


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