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RAPEX Method

Due to the RAPEX system for rapid information exchange, which is itself based on the General Product Safety Directive 2001/95/EC, there were just 72 cases in Austria, where measures involving the monitoring of products was implemented, in 2015.

In 25 cases, the items involved were pieces of jewellery, such as earrings and necklaces, which had a higher content of cadmium or nickel than the limits stated in Annex XVII of the REACH Regulation

19 cases concerned leather products, primarily shoes and bracelets, which exceeded the limit of chromium VI.

There were also eight cases of faulty oil lamps that failed to meet the statutory requirements, which were also the subject of a RAPEX alert. Asbestos was discovered in thermos flasks, triggering six RAPEX alerts.

Clothing was found to contain azo dyes, which releases an excessive amount of dangerous chemicals. These led to five cases of surveillance measures being implemented.

Further alerts concerned lead in jewellery, toluene in glue, 1,1,1,2-tetrafluouroethane in an aerosol spray can, and plasticisers (phthalates) (DEHP) in baby products. In all of these cases, the legally defined concentration limits were exceeded.

Inadequate labelling led to Rapex alerts for a spray paint and a glue-based product.

The surveillance measures adopted usually involve checking either the manufacturer or the distributor.

In many instances, the article concerned was already pulled from shelves and returned to either the company headquarters or the manufacturer, as the product fault was already known. Some of the research revealed that products that had triggered a RAPEX alert in other EU countries were never put on the market in Austria.

Below is an overview of hazard sources (substances/products) and the respective number of RAPEX notifications in 2015:

Substance / Product / Issue Number
Chromium VI 19
Cadmium 15
Nickel 10
Asbestos 6
Azo dyes 5
Lead 3
Toluene 2
1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane 1
DEHP 1
Faulty oil lamps 8
Inadequate labelling 2

European Commission: Rapid Alert System for dangerous products – keeping consumers safe