Toys topped the list of dangerous consumer goods taken off the European market on safety grounds last year, a report revealed today.
Almost one quarter of all dangerous products withdrawn from sale across the EU in 2006 were targeted at children – from teddy bears with potentially-lethal metal spikes to a Chinese-made Superman doll coated with poisonous lead paint.
Hair-dryers, mini motorbikes, ski boot bindings, cleaning sprays and even wigs which all posed a safety threat are also on the list of 924 products which were swept off the shelves under a rapid alert system known as RAPEX.
The system involves a national authority notifying the European Commission, which puts the offending product on the Rapex database, monitored regularly by trading standards authorities, which can then act to ban the goods on their own territory.
Most recent cases include an alert this week by the UK authorities about a counterfeit Superman toy containing lead paint.
The UK also recently notified the system about dangerous novelty lights, faulty night lights with no fuses, and Chinese-made mini-motorcycles with faults including badly welded suspension, loose batteries, poor steering, insecure brakes and faulty wiring harnesses.
Two ‘killer’ bears put on the RAPEX database earlier this month, thanks to alerts from Poland and Finland, have now been withdrawn from sale across Europe on grounds of dangerous metal spikes – exposed if the fabric is pulled open – and a risk of choking on loose fillings and zips.
The annual RAPEX report reveals that toys took over from electrical goods lost year as the most notified products deemed a risk to consumers.
And in almost half the cases where an EU-wide alert was issued and acted upon, the goods were made in China – 440 products, or 48 per cent of the total.
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