Withdrawals of dangerous consumer products jump by 16%

The number of dangerous consumer products withdrawn from the EU market rose by 16% in 2008 compared to in 2007, the Commission’s annual report on the Community rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products (“RAPEX”) reveals today. This rise from 1 605 notifications in 2007 to 1 866 last year shows that the capacity of the RAPEX system has substantially increased again in 2008, following a substantial investment of resources and training by the European Commission and Member States. European businesses in the consumer product safety area are also taking their responsibilities more seriously and recall their unsafe products from the market more readily. Toys with childcare articles (such as bicycles, baby walkers, cots and soothers), electrical products and motor vehicles were the most frequently notified products in 2008. The number of notifications on products of Chinese origin sent through RAPEX increased (from 52% in 2007 to 59% in 2008). This must be seen as a consequence of the focus of market surveillance authorities on product categories known to be of higher risk.

What is a directive?

A European directive can be regarded as an European law, and – unlike it’s name may assume – is legally binding for every Member State of the European Union. Through transposition into the national legislation of the Member States, persons and companies are subject to the requirements of the European directives.

New EU rules for safe toys for our children

The European Commission welcomes today’s adoption by the European Parliament of its proposal to substantially strengthen EU-rules on toy safety. It gives consumers assurance that toys sold in the EU fulfil the highest safety requirements world-wide, especially those relating to the use of chemical substances.

EU Member States approve world-wide rules for labelling of chemicals

The European Commission welcomes the agreement by the EU Member States to align EU legislation on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures to the United Nations Globally Harmonised System (GHS). This new system will ensure that the same hazards will be described and labelled in the same way all around the world. By using internationally agreed classification criteria and labelling elements, it is expected to facilitate trade and to contribute towards global efforts to protect humans and the environment from hazardous effects of chemicals. The new regulation will complement the REACH regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. The European Parliament already the 3rd of September this year approved the GHS regulation. The next step will be its publication in the Official Journal, thereby making the EU one of the international leaders in the actual uptake of the UN system.