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Information about dangerous products flows more effectively across Europe

12.5.2011 13.30
Press release

Information about products that cause serious risk flows more effectively between EU Member States. The number of notifications in RAPEX, the EU rapid alert system for the change of information about dangerous consumer products, has increased notably in the last few years. In 2010 a total of almost 2,000 notifications was received of products causing a serious risk for consumers' health and safety, of which around 100 from Finland. The report for 2010 compiled by the European Commission will be published today, 12 May 2010.  

 RAPEX is a rapid alert system that allows EU Member States to exchange information about dangerous consumer products and related measures. The European Commission publishes on its website a weekly report of these products. In 2010 a total of 1,963 notifications were received, an increase of 16 % from the previous year. The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) is the National Contact Point for RAPEX in Finland.

– The increase in the number of notifications is due to the risk-oriented and intensified market surveillance, joint market surveillance project in EU countries, and other co-operation between the Member States. Therefore, it cannot be concluded directly that there would be more dangerous products on the market than before, says Product Safety Engineer Katri Sihvola of Tukes.

Nearly one third of the notifications referred to clothings, textiles and fashion items. A large number of notifications also regarded forbidden cords and loops in children's clothing and shoewear containing dimethylfumarate (DMF). Many notifications were also made about toys, motor vehicles and electrical appliances. The surveillance of these product groups will be strengthened in many countries.

Finnish authorities filed a total of 98 notifications with the system in 2010. The notifications referred to e.g. toys containing forbidden phthalates or small parts coming loose, nickel-releasing jewellery, risk of strangulation to children caused by window blind cords and roller blind loops, and azo-dyed scarves and T-shirts. Tukes also made notifications of non-reacting smoke alarms, LED lights causing risk of electric shock, life-threatening LPG refrigerators, and pedestrian reflectors whose inferior reflection capacity gave a misleading picture of the product's safety characteristics.

The NLF Regulation implemented from the beginning of 2010 obligates the authorities in EU Member States to notify the Commission of the market surveillance measures allocated to e.g. products causing serious risks to the environment or products intended for professionals that cause a serious safety risk to the user. A total of seven notifications of this kind was made in 2010. Finnish authorities filed three notifications, all relating to environmental risk due to cadmium-containing packaging material. 

– The RAPEX system is very useful for authorities, companies and consumers. Retailers and buyers in particular are advised to check the latest weekly RAPEX reports. This ensures that dangerous products do not end up at shop assortments, obviating the need for costly later measures. This is important, as companies are responsible for the safety of their products and have an obligation to notify authorities of any safety defects and risks detected in them, reminds Sihvola.

RAPEX 2010 Annual Report and weekly reports

Read more on Tukes' website

For more information:

Katri Sihvola, Product Safety Engineer, tel. +358 10 6052 197, [email protected]