Rise in dangerous product recallsMore than a third were toys and childcare goods

18 April 2008

The number of dangerous products taken off European markets rose by 53% last year, a new consumer safety report revealed today.

More than one third were toys and childcare goods, and more than half of the 1,605 EU-wide product risk alerts registered in 2007 involved items made in China.

About 21 million toy items were removed from shelves as part of just four product alerts last summer, which raised concern about manufacturing standards.

Safety alerts

EU Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva held talks with the Chinese authorities and launched a sweeping review of the EU's Rapex system, under which a dangerous product identified in one member state triggers an alert in all EU countries.

The Commissioner, launching an annual report on product safety under Rapex, said the rise in detected dangerous goods reflected that the system was working well, rather than that products were becoming riskier.

The Rapex system, which does not include food, shows the toy category generates by far the most safety alerts - more than 400 notifications.

Tougher rules

But motor vehicles and electrical goods also prompted more than 350 alerts and recalls between them last year.

In January the Commission proposed tougher toy safety controls, including a ban on the use of carcinogenic chemicals, limits on the use of lead or mercury on toys, and tougher warnings.

EU Governments have also been asked to approve plans to make warnings compulsory on all toys containing magnetic parts which could be swallowed accidentally.

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