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Most RAPEX notifications in EU about dangers related to clothing, textiles and fashion items

8.5.2012 13.33
Press release

In 2011, a total of 1,556 notifications of products posing a serious risk to consumers’ health and safety were made in the European Union member countries. Most of the notifications concerned clothing, textiles and fashion items.

Notifications of dangerous products and subsequent measures are collected in the EU in the RAPEX system.  The system helps to disseminate information about dangerous products between member states. The European Commission publishes a weekly overview of the notifications on its website.  The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) is the National Contact Point for the RAPEX system in Finland.

In 2011, the system received the highest number of notifications on clothing, textiles and fashion items. There are still banned ribbons and cords in children’s clothing, posing a risk of strangulation. A lot of notifications were also made concerning toys, motor vehicles, electrical equipment and cosmetics. The surveillance of these product groups is being stepped up in many member states.  The system also received notifications concerning chemical risks posed by products, for example carcinogenic anilines contained in tattoo inks.

The number of notifications fell by 20 per cent compared to the previous year. The European Commission believes that the drop in notifications may be due to the reduction in official resources for economic reasons. More attention has also been paid to the quality of the notifications and risk assessments.

“The drop in the number of notifications cannot lead to the direct conclusion that the number of dangerous products in the market has fallen. The number may have been affected by the fact that several joint market surveillance projects of the EU countries have ended. The projects have increased the notification volumes of some product groups in previous years,” says Product Safety Engineer Katri Sihvola from Tukes.

Most notifications in Finland on electrical products and toys

Finnish authorities belonging to the RAPEX network entered a total of 78 notifications in the system in 2011. They concerned products such as toys containing banned phthalates and jewellery releasing nickel. Other notifications made by Tukes concerned e.g. battery chargers causing a risk of electrocution, a patio awning, and mini mopeds.

The NLF Decree (New Legislative Framework) obliges authorities in the EU countries to notify the Commission through the RAPEX system of market surveillance measures concerning products that may pose a serious environmental risk, or products intended for professional use that pose a serious safety risk for the user. Last year, 17 notifications concerning such products were made in Europe. The Finnish authorities made six notifications. They concerned the environmental risk caused by packaging materials containing cadmium.

The RAPEX system is very useful for authorities, businesses and consumers. Retailers and buyers are particularly well advised to monitor the weekly overviews. This way, they can avoid a dangerous product ending up in their own store selections and save them from expensive consequences. Companies are liable for product safety and under obligation to notify the authorities about safety risks and dangerous features found in their products.

Further information

 Annual Report 2011 and weekly reports published by the Commission

Read more on Tukes website

Katri Sihvola, Product Safety Engineer, telephone +358 (0)10 6052 197, 

[email protected]