The number of dangerous consumer products registered with the EU’s rapid alert system (RAPEX) rose by seven percent in 2009. Examples of the some 2,000 items have been on display in Brussels.
Adam Romanowski with the European Commission said: “This doll was sent to us by Hungary; we have a button which can be easily detached by a child, and the child can choke on it. Here we have a teddy bear without an eye because the eye was detached during test by the Dutch authority.”
The European Commission said EU states are getting better at spotting dangerous imports.
EU Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli said: “They need to put more and more resources into this. Our net has to [cast] wider and wider; also by working — and that is also what the Commission can do — by working with third countries like China for example, to ensure that we institute certain initiatives and measures to make sure that the dangers are stopped at source.”
The European consumers’ association BEUC is worried about national funding cutbacks.
BEU’s Sylvia Maurer said: “It is, of course, important that the information exchanged is improved through Rapex, but we also need more controls, and we are very much concerned that with the financial crisis there could be a tendency even to reduce the controls because there are less funds available in the member states for these activities.”
Toys, clothing, textiles, motor vehicles and electrical appliances topped the danger list. The biggest problems were from dangerous chemicals, injury, strangulation and choking.