Fabian Demicoli

Safety of Goods: Fewer dangerous goods slipping through

Whether a baby-stroller or a new pair of shoes, we all like to be sure that the products we buy in the EU are safe.  The good news is that fewer dangerous products are reaching the EU market since such products are now identified and removed more readily.  Thanks to the increasing effectiveness of the EU's rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products ("RAPEX"), a record 2,244 unsafe products were banned, withdrawn from the market or recalled from consumers in 2010 (up 13% compared with 2009), according to the 2010 annual RAPEX report published today.


Member States have upped their game and European businesses are also taking their responsibilities in the consumer product safety area more seriously, with a marked increase (200%) in the use of the dedicated rapid alert system for business ('GPSD Business Application'). Safety at source has become a key focus – with attention now moving right back to the factory floor (design and manufacturing), and work with international partners is growing, in particular with China.

RAPEX system increasingly effective.

Since the introduction of RAPEX in 2004, notifications have increased from 468 (2004) to 2,244 (2010). The increased capacity and efficiency is attributed to:

more active product safety enforcement by national authorities, including through specific projects;

better allocation of resources;

greater awareness among businesses of their obligations;

enhanced cooperation with third countries, in particular China;

network-building and training coordinated by the European Commission.

All Member States involved.

Half of the participating countries further increased their activities in the system in 2010. The most active countries were Germany (204 notifications), Bulgaria (192 notifications), Hungary (191 notifications), Cyprus (178 notifications), and Greece (159 notifications). Notifications sent by these countries represent 47% of all notifications on products posing a serious risk sent via the system.

Clothing and textiles, toys, and motor vehicles top the list

Clothing and textiles (625 notifications) were the most frequently notified products (suffocation and irritation risks) followed by toys (488 notifications), (mainly choking risk), and motor vehicles (175 notifications), (risk of injury), which together accounted for 66% of all notifications on products posing a serious risk in 2010. Electrical appliances (158 notifications) became the fourth most frequently notified category of product (risk of electric shock).

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