CEFIC: Increase in non-compliant article imports
According to an analysis by CEFIC of data reported through the EU’s Safety Gate, 2020 saw a steep increase in imports of hand sanitisers that were not compliant with the EU chemicals safety rules. These were either not marked as flammable or containing methanol, as required by EU Classification & Labelling rules, or had insufficient ethanol to kill viruses, as required by the Biocides Regulation, CEFIC noted.
In addition, while most (80%) non-compliant articles came from outside the EU and the EEA, there was a rise from 4% to 17% in the number of offending articles where the country of origin was unknown. This was probably due to increased online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Children’s toys accounted for more than a third of all reported cases, as in previous years. The main two are the endocrine-disrupting phthalate, DEHP, which has long been restricted in Europe but still often turns up in dolls imported from China; and boron, a reprotoxin that is often found in ‘slime toys’. Automotive refrigerants and skin-lightening products were also increasing issues, the association noted.
“Not only do we need more coordinated enforcement at EU borders, but we also need to ensure the restrictions or bans we adopt in Europe are enforceable,” said Sylvie Lemoine, executive director of product stewardship. “This means enforcement authorities need to have the analytical tools, the lab capacity and the budgets to control a representative sample of goods for the presence and amount of restricted chemicals.”