Early Warning System for Consumer Protection: Hazardous Substances the Second-Highest Cause of Warnings

A third of all warnings are related to toys, and hazardous chemicals are the reason for warning notifications in 18% of all cases. Those are two essential results from the newest Safety Gate Report, published by the EU at the beginning of March. The EU also issued a press release on March 2. 

EU member states use the Rapid Exchange of Information (RAPEX) system to share information on hazardous or potentially hazardous consumer goods. Overall, the member states issued 2,253 warnings about hazardous products last year. The companies affected by the warnings and national agencies took 5,377 measures, such as call-backs or recalls – the highest number ever.  

Warnings about hazardous chemicals in toys are especially alarming. For example, plastic dolls can contain hazardous phthalates, such as bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP). The chemical is an endocrine disruptor and is reprotoxic. That’s why it is listed in Annex XIV of REACH, and its use within the EU without authorization has been prohibited since February 21, 2015. 

The frequency of warning notifications about boron in slime toys is similarly problematic. A study by scientists determined that every fifth of these toys exceeds the migration values defined in the Toy Safety Directive. This value sets the highest quantity of a hazardous chemical that a toy may emit under unfavorable conditions, such as when a child puts one in its mouth.  

Chemicals were the highest cause of problems in products in these countries: Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, and Sweden. 

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