Strong RAPEX cooperation improves consumer safety
In 2013, a total of 2,364 notifications of dangerous products were entered in the European RAPEX system. The number of notifications has quadrupled over the last ten years. Most of these notifications concerned toys or clothing, textiles and fashion items. Finnish authorities entered a total of 89 notifications in the system, most of which concerned electrical products and toys.
The RAPEX system is a European rapid information exchange system through which a total of 30 countries disseminate information on measures related to products posing a risk to health and safety. This allows for dangerous products to be detected at an early phase and to be withdrawn more quickly from the market. The European Commission publishes a weekly overview of notifications entered in the system on its website. The Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) is the National Contact Point for the RAPEX system in Finland.
“Consumers have the most to benefit from smoothly functioning information exchange, as it results in safer products on the market,” says Coordinator Nina Majuri from Tukes. The RAPEX system is also an important tool for the authorities. The system provides information on products that have already been identified as dangerous in a Member State. Operational efficiency increases if the same product does not need to be tested again. Companies can identify the key risks related to their own product groups in the weekly overviews. In this way, they can take the risks into account before placing them on the market and avoid the expensive consequences. Consumers can also read the weekly overviews.
"The RAPEX system improves the effectiveness of market surveillance," says Senior Adviser Janne Niemelä from Tukes. It is one thing to withdraw a product from the Finnish market alone, whereas through the RAPEX system, information on dangerous products is published throughout Europe. Through cooperation via RAPEX-CHINA, Chinese authorities are also notified of dangerous products. In future, information will be increasingly disseminated through the worldwide OECD GlobalRecalls portal.
Most notifications in Finland on electrical products and toys
The number of RAPEX notifications has quadrupled over the last decade. The increase in the number of notifications does not, however, lead to the direct conclusion that the number of dangerous products on the market has multiplied. Effective, risk-based market surveillance has contributed to the growth in notification volumes while new countries have joined the system. Using the system is a statutory obligation for authorities.
In addition to notifications on toys and clothes, textiles and fashion items, many notifications were also made concerning various types of electrical equipment, motor vehicles and cosmetics. Chemical risks were identified in many different product groups. Of the 89 notifications made by Finnish authorities, most were related to electrical products and toys. In addition, notifications were made on protective equipment such as protective gloves, reflectors and hearing protectors. Finland took 132 corrective measures related to notifications made by other countries.
A total of 62 notifications were entered in the system concerning products intended for professional use or products that may pose a serious environmental risk. Of these, nine were made in Finland. In summer 2013, the Commission began to include information on these products in its weekly overview.
Coordinator Nina Majuri, tel. +358 29 5052 145,
Senior Adviser Janne Niemelä, tel. +358 29 5052 153, [email protected]
Commission Report, 25 March 2014 http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/dyna/press_rel/press_rel_cons_consumers.cfm
Annual Report 2013
Read more on Tukes' website