Apparel imports to the European Union (EU) in 2012 were cited by safety officials as among the most potentially dangerous consumer products.
RAPEX, the European Union’s rapid alert system and information exchange for dangerous goods, said 58 percent of its 1,126 safety alert notifications of dangerous products in 2012, involved Chinese clothing, toys and gadgets, with clothing topping the list.
Officials of RAPEX, however, were quick to point out that Chinese goods were no more dangerous than those from other countries. It’s just that China is the principal exporter to the EU.
There were a total of 2,278 safety and health notifications for 2012, an increase of 26 percent over the previous year, a disturbing trend. Goods thus tagged by RAPEX are banned, denied entry into a country by customs officials, or withdrawn from the market.
Clothing risks accounted for 34 percent of RAPEX notifications last year. Of these, the most frequently cited by RAPEX were toxic chemicals in apparel and textiles, strangulation risk and injury risks, mostly in children’s clothing.Drawstrings and cords in children’s clothing are particularly dangerous, according to RAPEX.
More than half the number of RAPEX safety or danger notifications in 2012 involved goods imported by Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Spain and the UK.
All EU member states are represented by RAPEX, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. RAPEX reports on measures ordered by government decree and voluntary measures taken by producers and distributors relating to products tagged by the organization.
RAPEX does not have jurisdiction over food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices and equipment, categories overseen by other organizations.