On 20th April, the European Commission presented the Annual Report 2008 on Hazardous Products. Compared to the previous year, the Member States reported 16 % more hazardous products to the RAPEX alert system. Most warning messages concerned toys and products from China.
The purpose of the RAPEX alert system is to guarantee that information concerning hazardous consumer products -, with the exception of food -, which are discovered in a Member State, are swiftly forwarded to all national authorities and the European Commission, so that these goods can be quickly removed from the consumer market. Currently, all EU Member States as well as Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland are participating in the RAPEX system.

Since 2004, the reports concerning hazardous goods have quadrupled (from 468 to 1866). Commissioner Meglena Kuneva does not regard this development as a sign that European consumers are swamped with hazardous goods, but that the European warning system is working more effectively and that the Member States have intensified their activities. The most active countries were Germany (205 notifications), Spain (163) and Slovakia (140). Austria had only reported 17 incidents. The reasons for this are varied. This is both in connection with the size of national markets and the import volume and the supervision of the markets in the Member States.

Toys (with 498 notifications) was the product group, which in accordance with the EU Report, had been reported the most as being hazardous; this was followed by electrical goods (169) and motor vehicles (160). The most frequent type of risk were general injuries (20 %) but also chemical reactions, suffocation, electric shocks or fire. Even if more than half of the reported products come from China (59 %), the Member States should put their own house in order. 20 % of products rated as hazardous came from the EU.

Further information:

Summary of the Annual RAPEX Report 2008

Entire Annual RAPEX Report 2008

Press Release of the Commission