Toys comprise 29% of all dangerous products withdrawn from European markets, according to an annual report published on Monday by Rapex, the European early warning system for non-food goods. In 2017 hand spinners, so popular in schoolyards, were singled out because of components that come off easily and the little button cells that allow some of these tops to light up while spinning. If ingested, these batteries can cause burns to the esophagus and intestines, the report highlighted.
Thanks to Rapex, the authorities of 28 Member States along with those of Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein can be informed when dangerous objects are intercepted at borders or withdrawn from the shelves. In 2017 2,201 warnings were issued and 3,952 follow-up actions registered. These figures were higher than in 2016, when there were 2,044 warnings and 3,824 follow-up actions.
Where the types of goods are concerned, the largest percentage were toys, followed by motor vehicles (20%) and clothing/fashion accessories (12%). The most common risks were related to injuries, chemical dangers and suffocation.
Most of the dangerous objects (53%) identified came from China, despite efforts by Europe to raise awareness with the Chinese authorities. In 26% of cases, a European country was involved. The authorities issuing the largest number of notifications were those of Germany (354), Spain (222) and France (191).
Belgium issued 18 warnings in 2017, more than half of them related to fireworks. “Checks on these type of goods continue to be a priority for us,” commented Jan Deconinck of the Economic Affairs Department. “With the phenomenon of Dutch nationals who come and stock up on fireworks in northern Belgium, we regularly conduct campaigns on this issue.”