Today, the European Commission published new figures of the EU-wide Rapid Alert System for alerts triggered by dangerous non-food products. Since 2003, dangerous products and respective risks can be notified via the Alert System, which helps to efficiently channel such alerts and coordinate follow-up actions among the 31 participating Member States. When one Member State posts an alert on the system, other countries can react to this initial alert by spotting the product on their market and examine it in detail if necessary.
Current figures for the year 2015 hold the following insights:
- There were 2,072 alerts and 2,745 corresponding follow-up actions registered in the Rapid Alert System. 62 percent of the notified dangerous products originated from China, which is the EU's largest source of imports.
- The main product categories posing the risks were toys with 27 percent and clothing, textiles and fashion items with 17 percent, for which corrective measures had to be taken.
- The most frequently notified risk, that is one quarter of the total of the notifications, was chemical risk, followed by the risk of injuries with 22 percent.
- The most frequent chemical risks related to products such as fashion jewelry, with harmful heavy metals like nickel and lead, and toys containing plastic softeners, which can cause fertility problems.
The increasing share of European consumers purchasing their products online and from outside the EU, poses future challenges for the Commission in terms of product and consumer safety. Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, commented on these figures: "The Rapid Alert system has helped coordinate quick reactions between consumer protection authorities to remove dangerous products across Europe. Two challenges lie ahead of us: online sales bringing products directly to consumer's houses through mail and the strong presence of Chinese products signaled through the Rapid Alert system. I'm going to China in June to further step up our important cooperation with the Chinese authorities on product safety."
Source: European Commission