Germans report most harmful products in EU

Tom Barfield
Tom Barfield - [email protected]
Germans report most harmful products in EU
A bear shown in 2012 that lost its eyes and presented a choking hazard to children. Photo: DPA

Germany submitted more reports of harmful consumer products to the European Union than any other country, but was also the biggest producer of dangerous items inside the EU, a report showed on Monday.


Reports on 296 of the 2,435 items identified as potentially harmful in 2014 under the European Commission's (EC) Rapid Alert System came from Germany, the EC announced on Monday.

That meant that the country pipped Hungary (291 reports) and Spain (280 reports) to the post as the most safety-conscious EU nation.

But a breakdown of the origins of dangerous products sold to consumers revealed that Germany was also the biggest producer inside the EU, churning out 75 different goods that were later withdrawn.

That was almost double the amount produced by the next-biggest EU offender, Italy, which was the subject of 39 reports, followed by Britain at 38.

The number of dangerous product notifications across Europe increased from 2013 by 3 percent to nearly 2,500 dangerous products removed from EU markets, including toys, motor vehicles and clothing. 

Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Commissioner Vĕra Jourová presented the report at a Brussels press conference on Monday.

All the EU countries' dangerous output was dwarfed by China, which saw 1,462 of its products withdrawn from European markets over safety fears.

Meanwhile, products from within the European Union and the European Economic Area made up 14 percent of those removed. 

The most common products that were flagged up were toys, which accounted for 28 percent of reports, followed by clothing at 23 percent and electrical appliances at 9 percent.

Risk of injury at 26 percent and dangerous chemicals at 25 percent accounted for the majority of reasons for products being reported, followed by choking (12 percent), electrical shock (11 percent) and strangulation (9 percent).

Shoes, leather articles, toys and childcare items - which can contain plastic softeners that may cause fertitily problems - as well as fashion jewellery caused the most alerts of chemical risks.

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