Toys continue to be contaminated with hazardous chemicals. According to a current EU report, Safety Gate: just a click to keep away from dangerous products, toys are one of the top three product categories most frequently reported to the early warning system formerly known as RAPEX, which stands for rapid exchange of information (toys 31%; commercial vehicles 19%; and clothing, textiles, and fashion 10%).
Chemicals and injuries (25% of notifications) are the most common reasons for product notifications. The number of such notifications grew by 3% from the previous year.
As indicated in the fact sheet published by the EU, the EU Rapid Alert System for Dangerous Non-Food Products, the number of warnings climbed from 2,201 in 2017 to 2,257 last year. Most of the RAPEX warnings came from Germany (362), followed by France (249) and Hungary (172).
The authors of the EU report have uncovered a new type of toy as particularly problematic: “Squishy or squeezable toys.” The products involved contain hazardous chemicals like n,n-dimethylformamide, n,n-dimethylaminoethanol, cyclohexanone, and triethylenediamine. All these chemicals can cause damage to the eyes, trigger inflammation of mucus membranes, and harm the liver. In its press release of April 5, the EU Commission wrote that more than half of the hazardous products identified come from China.
RAPEX enables quick discovery of such products, so that they can be speedily removed from the market. RAPEX was set up in 2003 for consumer protection and enables swift EU-wide exchange of information on product recalls. Individual states can react accordingly and introduce follow-up measures. Some 4,050 measures, such as a prohibition of sales, stoppage of current sales, recalls, or import prohibitions by customs authorities were undertaken in 2018.
According to the Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2019/417 of November 8, 2018 the RAPEX Web site was renamed Safety Gate, to inform consumers better. For example, a translation tool is available to make information available in the 25 languages (official EU languages plus Norwegian and Icelandic) used in the countries participating in the system.
A public Web site was developed for Safety Gate, which means that the warnings of all participating national agencies are regularly updated in the system. About 50 warnings are created and published every week on the Internet.
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