European Commission Releases 2015 RAPEX Report
On April 25, 2016, the European Commission (EC) released its 2015 report on the European Union’s (EU) Rapid Alert System for non-food (RAPEX). In 2015, the EC reported 2,123 total RAPEX notifications, a slight decrease from the 2,435 notifications in 2014 (an overall record).
RAPEX is the EU’s system for exchanging information among and notifying member states, the EC, and the public about purportedly dangerous products and the measures taken to address those dangers. The RAPEX website lists notifications for products posing a risk to the health and safety of consumers and professionals and, since 2013, notifications for products posing a risk to other areas of public interest, such as the environment. The European system captures hazardous consumer and professional products, motor vehicles, and cosmetics, but excludes food, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. Corrective measures described in RAPEX notifications include market withdrawal, recall, ban on sales, and rejection of imports.
Key figures from the 2015 report include:
- Product Categories. The top two product categories with the most notifications in 2015 were toys (27 percent) and clothing, textiles, and fashion items (17 percent). Rounding out the top five were motor vehicles (10 percent), electrical appliances and equipment (nine percent), and jewelry (six percent).
- Hazards. The top five product risks in the 2015 notifications were: chemical (25 percent), personal physical injury (22 percent), choking (17 percent), electric shock (12 percent), and fire (eight percent). National authorities increased their surveillance of unauthorized and dangerous chemicals in consumer products in 2015, as reflected by chemical hazards being at the top of the RAPEX list. Within chemical hazards, the top three product categories were toys, jewelry, and clothing.
- Country of Origin. China topped the country of origin list for the most product notifications at 62 percent (a slight decrease from 64 percent in 2014). European countries were second at 15 percent (a slight increase from 14 percent in 2014). As in the 2014 RAPEX Report, the United States did not appear in the country of origin list.
- Notifying Member States. The EU member states that were most active in submitting RAPEX notifications in 2015 were Spain (239 notifications), Hungary (238), Germany (208), United Kingdom (162), Bulgaria (151), and France (135). Interestingly, almost all of the notifications from Hungary and Spain involved compulsory measures (236 and 227, respectively), whereas the vast majority of the notifications from Germany and the United Kingdom involved voluntary corrective actions (172 and 130, respectively).
- "Other" Notifications. In 2015, there were 51 RAPEX notifications for concerns other than consumer health and safety. Those notifications included professional products and risks to other areas of public interest, including the environment, electromagnetic disturbance, and microbiological hazards.
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