Bulgaria reported 151 dangerous products as part of an EU-wide alert system in 2015, a report by the European Commission said on April 25 2016.
Most, 85, were clothing items, followed by 25 cigarette lighters, 11 child care or children’s equipment, 10 decorative articles, six toys and four – of all things – protective equipment.
Also on the list of goods reported by Bulgaria were two items of hobby or sports equipment, two laser products and three cosmetics.
The figure reported was down from 191 in 2013 but higher than the 125 reported in 2014, according to the European Commission.
The European Commission report said that, in 2015, more than 2000 dangerous products triggered EU-wide alerts.
A key challenge is the increasing share of products bought online from outside the EU.
“With 62 per cent of the notified dangerous products coming from China, this country remains the number one country of origin in the alert system. It is the EU’s largest source of imports,” the European Commission said..
Věra Jourová, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, is to visit China in June to discuss product safety with her Chinese counterparts.
The Commission said that it was working together with EU countries and businesses to ensure that unsafe consumer goods are removed from the European market.
“The Rapid Alert system has helped co-ordinate quick reactions between consumer protection authorities to remove dangerous products across Europe,” Jourová said.
“Two challenges lie ahead of us: online sales bringing products directly to consumer’s houses through mail and the strong presence of Chinese products signalled 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,” she said.
In 2015, there were 2,072 alerts and 2,745 follow-up actions registered in the system. When one EU member state posts an alert on the system, other countries can spot the product on their market and react to this initial alert.
More than 65 per cent of Europeans buy products online and the number of online shoppers has grown by 27 per cent between 2006 and 2015.
“A new challenge is now to address the online channel, which also brings products from outside the EU through mail into consumers’ households that may not have been subjected to safety verification,” the Commission said.
The Commission said that it was working on further improving the Rapid Alert system to include this aspect.
“We’ve already seen successful cooperation with border control staff and online selling platforms. We will ensure further focus on online sales, as part of the Commission’s international product safety agenda,” the statement said.
In 2015, toys (27 per cent) and clothing, textiles and fashion items (17 per cent) were the two main product categories for which corrective measures had to be taken. These were already the most notified products the year before.
As far as risks are concerned, in 2015, the most frequently notified risk (25 per cent of the total of the notifications) was chemical risk, followed bythe risk of injuries (22 per cent), which was at the top of the list in the previous report.
The most frequent chemical risks notified in 2015 related to products such as fashion jewellery, with harmful heavy metals like nickel and lead, and toys containing phthalates (plastic softeners which can cause fertility problems).
Collaboration with the Chinese authorities continues to be a priority for the EU and, more specifically, takes place within the Rapid Alert System China mechanism: each notification concerning a product of Chinese origin is sent to the Chinese administration, so that they address the issue with the manufacturer or exporter directly if these economic operators are traceable.
To date, China has followed up on as many as 11 540 notifications and has been able to take corrective measures in 3748 cases. In many cases, tracing the source of the product remains difficult, the Commission said.
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