RAPEX, the EU’s rapid alert system for reporting and monitoring dangerous non-food products, saw a 26% rise in reporting in 2012. A total of 2,278 measures were taken by EU member states against dangerous products.

Consumer protection is at the forefront of what we do, and paramount for our clients. Testing, certification, verification and systems auditing prevents dangerous products reaching the marketplace, but RAPEX facilitates the effective reporting and removal of products already in the marketplace when things go wrong. The increase demonstrates the EU’s commitment to consumer protection, and reflects better enforcement work carried out by authorities across the region. It may also reflect the improved and updated RAPEX IT system that better facilitates reporting.

Which products are posing risks?

In 2012, clothing, textiles and fashion items (34%), followed by toys (19%), were the main product categories for which corrective measures had to be taken. Among the most frequently notified risks caused by these products were chemical risks (18%), risk of strangulation (17%) and risk of injury (25%).

Risks of injuries and strangulation are often identified in children’s clothing with drawstrings and cords, e.g. in swimwear.  Other examples of products - banned in the EU in 2012 – include a skin lightening product which contained hydroquinone (its use is prohibited in cosmetics and personal hygiene products) and a plastic doll containing 38.5% by weight of di(2- ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) posing a chemical risk. Businesses should ensure that these well-known risks are taken into account before production.

Where are they coming from?

China still represents the number one country of origin in the alert system.  Last year, 58% of the total number of notifications on products presenting a serious risk, were related to products coming from China.

To improve this situation, the EU is working bilaterally with China on the exchange of information between the authorities and on communication activities. The EU and China will soon release a series of videos aimed at Chinese manufacturers and European importers, providing product safety information.


RAPEX is the EU rapid alert system between member states and the Commission for non-food products.  Its role is to disseminate information on potentially dangerous products quickly and effectively. This results in quicker identification and faster removal from EU markets of products, such as children’s clothing, textiles, toys, cosmetics and electrical appliances, which do not meet the required standards for safety.

Safety first

With a reputation for excellence in inspection, testing, certification and verification, we help you to reduce risk, improve efficiency and ensure compliance with contractual or regulatory requirements throughout your supply chain. More importantly, we can help you gain a competitive edge and develop products, processes and supply chains that deliver consumer goods that really are as good as you say they are.

For further information on SGS consumer testing services please visit SGS Consumer Goods and Retail.


2,278 notifications.
30 participating countries (EU + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein).
5 most frequently notified product categories in 2012:

  • 34% Clothing, textiles and fashion items
  • 19% Toys
  • 11% Electrical appliances and equipment
  • 8% Motor vehicles
  • 4% Cosmetics

Notifications by country of origin of the notified product:

  • 58% China including Hong Kong
  • 17% EU-27 and EEA countries
  • 11% unknown
  • 14% other