The European Commission has published its annual report on Safety Gate, which is the EU’s rapid alert system for dangerous consumer products that help take dangerous non-food products off the market. The report shows that the number of actions taken by authorities following an alert is growing year on year, reaching a new record of 5,377, compared to 4,477 in 2019.
9% of all alerts generated in 2020 referred to products related to COVID-19, mostly failed masks intended for protection. Other examples of dangerous COVID-19-related products reported at the Safety Gate include disinfectants that contain toxic chemicals, such as methanol, which can cause blindness or even death if ingested, or UV sterilizers that expose users to strong radiation that causes skin irritations.
Didier Reynders, the Commissioner for Justice, said: “The security door has proven to be crisis-proof: during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has helped protect consumers by being a key instrument to circulate efficiently and quick information on dangerous products, such as unsafe masks or toxic disinfectants and remove them from the market. With protection tools like this, consumer rights are even more guaranteed. ”
According to the report published by the European Commission, the surveillance action has focused on COVID-19 related products that have become essential for all consumers. Thus, in 2020 there were 161 alerts about masks; 3 on specific suits; 13 on hand sanitizers; and 18 alerts on UV lamps that supposedly work as sterilizers.
In 2020, the authorities of the 31 countries participating in the network Safety gate (EU Member States plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom) exchanged a total of 2,253 alerts on measures taken against dangerous products, which led to 5,377 follow-up actions. This represents an increase of more than 20% from the number of follow-ups in 2019.
According to the report, toys are the most reported product category (27%), followed by motor vehicles (21%) and electrical appliances and equipment (10%). This illustrates that market surveillance in the EU is particularly focused on children, a vulnerable group of consumers. In general, the most frequently flagged products are those related to products that cause injuries, such as fractures or concussions (25%), followed by the chemical components of the products (18%) and the risks of suffocation of children (12% ).
Compared to last year, says Brussels, “more markets on-line they are committing to improving the safety of the products they sell. This Monday, two new firms joined the initiative: Joom and Etsy, and with this they pledged to verify that the products in Safety Gate are not for sale on their websites and act quickly in case the national authorities indicate them. some dangerous product that needs to be recalled. ”
Since 2003, Safety Gate allows a rapid exchange of information between the EU Member States, the European Economic Area, the United Kingdom and the European Commission on dangerous non-food products that pose a risk to the health and safety of consumers, to This way, they can take the appropriate follow-up measures and even ban products.
To date, 11 online marketplaces have signed this agreement to cooperate with Member States to remove dangerous products from their websites: bol.com, eMAG, Wish.com, AliExpress, Amazon, eBay, Rakuten France, Allegro, Cdiscount and, yesterday, Etsy. and Joom.