Insufficiently protective masks, life-threatening disinfectants and UV sterilisers that caused skin irritation were among consumer products raised by EU authorities in 2020. Of the 5377 dangerous non-edible products withdrawn from the Market, 9% were related to coronavirus.
This is what the European Commission writes in its 2020 Annual Report on Safety Gate, the European system that allows authorities to quickly exchange warnings about dangerous products. The number of notifications and the measures taken in response to them are increasing every year, says the EU’s day-to-day administration. In 2019, 4477 dangerous non-food products were removed from stores.
Last year, the authorities of the 31 Safety Gate participating countries (the 27 EU member states plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the United Kingdom) rang the bell about 161 defective mouth masks and 3 ‘protective’ overalls. Disinfecting hand gels were warned 13 times and 18 times about uv lamps that were supposedly sterilizing. Methanol was found in some disinfectants, which can lead to blindness or even death if swallowed.
“The system is proving crisis-proof in this coronavirus pandemic,” says EU Commissioner Didier Reynders (Justice). “It has helped protect consumers from unsafe mouth masks and toxic disinfectants, which have subsequently been removed from the market.”
Other consumer products that were alarmed mainly concerned toys (27%), Motor Vehicles (21%) and electrical appliances (10%). For example, dangerous items can lead to personal injury, suffocation, poisoning or fire.