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On 10 September 2018, the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) published1 the safety check on consumer products purchased from online shops outside Finland or the EU. Surprisingly, majority of toys, childcare articles, jewellery and electrical appliances failed to meet EU legal requirements. This activity alerts consumers should pay more attention to products sold online.
Tukes purchased products via popular online platforms. All samples of toys and children’s products (in total 17) were found non-compliant. For example, small parts of the baby soother were detached and posed choking hazards, drawstrings or cords in the head or neck area of children’s clothing may lead to strangulation or injuries when trapped. Moreover, five out of six USB mobile phone chargers were found causing fire and electric shocks. These products are available at a low cost. The Agency also examined toxic heavy metals in their packaging materials, but none of them was found as non-compliant.
In addition to product safety, the description of the products was problematic. For example, the jewellery was claimed to be made of 925 silver or titanium, but the fact is none of them contained precious metals. Six out of twelve cosmetic products did not have their ingredient listed, one typical example is the false claim of lightening ingredient in the skin lightening cream. It is nearly impossible for consumers to identify whether there are any hazardous substances present in the products.
Considering the rapid growth of e-commerce, the European Commission began to address product safety issues with online market platforms. In June 2018, four major online market platforms signed a product safety pledge2 to voluntarily commit the product safety of online marketplaces and strengthen their response to notification on dangerous products. Within 2 working days, these platforms should response to authority’s notice. Moreover, these platforms should take action on notices from customers within 5 working days. With this cooperation, Tukes could establish a rapid contact with these platforms to remove dangerous products from available on the market. Tukes News