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Toys on top of list of dangerous products in EU

© European Commission, Alert system
© European Commission, Alert system

The European Commission released today its 2018 report on the Safety Gate for dangerous products. Toys belonged to the most notified product category (31%), followed by ‘motor vehicles’ (19%), and ‘clothing, textiles and fashion items’ (10%), while the main risks flagged were chemical risks and injuries (25% each), followed by the choking risk for children (18%).

In 2018, a series of alerts pointing at new squeezable or “squishy” toys have appeared in the system. Most of the alerts for “squishy toys” or “squeezable toys” reported that they contained dangerous chemical substances, which pose a risk to the eyes, or cause mucous membrane irritation and liver damage.

In some cases, these toys may also pose risk of choking, suffocation or microbiological risks, all of which cause serious life-long health injuries, particularly to children.

“The Safety Gate is a key tool to protect Europeans from dangerous products and it really works,” said Vera Jourova (5 April), Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

“With more than 2,000 alerts and nearly double as many recalls and removals from the market, the report shows effective enforcement of the rules.  We will continue to work with national authorities and third countries to keep all European consumers safe.”

According to the Commission, product recalls are one of the most common measures to reduce the risks posed by dangerous products, however the proportion of products successfully recovered from consumers remains generally low. 

The results of a new survey on the issue show that aa third of the respondents consciously continue to use recalled products, suggesting that recall notices may not have much effect on consumers and/or that the risk may not be communicated clearly enough.

To improve the detection of dangerous products marketed in the EU before they are sold to consumers or as soon as possible thereafter, the Commission facilitated in June 2018 the signature of the Product Safety Pledge by 4 major online marketplaces (Alibaba, Amazon, Ebay, Rakuten France).

By signing the Pledge, the companies have agreed to a list of commitments going beyond their legal obligations with the aim of protecting consumers.

More than half (53 %) of all the detected dangerous products come from China. Cooperation with Chinese authorities in the product safety field continues to be a priority, but the results are mixed, writes the Commission.

The Brussels Times

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