Health Canada and European Commission Release Consumer Product Reports

24 March 2015

Health Canada and the European Commission and have each released public reports on safety incidents or non-compliances related to consumer products in 2014.

Health Canada’s latest Consumer Product Safety Incident Reports provides statistical information about consumer product reports received by the agency from consumers and industry. For the period of 1 October to 31 December 2014, Health Canada received 363 consumer product reports, 148 of which included an injury. More than half (56%) of the reports came from industry; 44% of the reports were submitted by consumers. The top five product categories based on number of reports received were housewares (24%), appliances (23%), children’s products (11%), electronics (11%), and home and automobile maintenance (10%). Toys were not among the top five product types reported.

The European Commission has released its 2014 Report on the Rapid Alert System for Dangerous Products (RAPEX), which operates through a network of 31 countries that exchange information on non-food products that are stopped from entering the market and/or recalled anywhere in Europe to ensure that appropriate follow-up action is taken and EU consumers are informed. From 1 January to 31 December 2014, the Commission received 2,435 health and safety notifications that resulted in 2,755 follow-up actions. Although toys were among the most common product categories to receive notifications (representing 28% of the total), only 11% of notified toys were subject to follow-up actions, indicating that most reported issues do not rise to the level of a significant hazard. It’s important to note that toys account for so many notifications because they represent a large proportion of market surveillance activities.

According to a statement released by the Toy Industries of Europe (TIE), 96% of the toy brands notified on RAPEX last year were not members of TIE or its national association members, and “the few notifications that concerned members of TIE or its national association members were dealt with promptly and effectively.” This is consistent with experience in the United States, where the overwhelming majority of companies identified by U.S. regulators as having multiple instances of non-compliance are not U.S.Toy Industry Association (TIA) members.

“The takeaway from these reports is that consumers can remain confident about the safety of toys on the market,” said TIA’s Alan Kaufman, senior vice president of technical affairs. “Responsible members of industry are meeting the stringent standards required of toys, and authorities are doing an effective job of excluding from the marketplace any non-compliant toys manufactured by rogue operators.”

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