From toy-shaped cigarette lighters to a short-circuiting plush rabbit that catches fire, Vera Jourova, the European commissioner for consumer affairs warned of a growing number of dangerous products for sale, with most coming from China.
The watchdog said it had issued 2,435 notifications of unsafe products ranging from children’s playthings to clothing and appliances in 2014, which was three percent more than in 2013.
Sixty-four percent of the dangerous goods were made in China, including Hong Kong, the same figure as 2013, said the Rapid Alert System (RAPEX), which includes the 28 EU states as well as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.
Toys topped the list of products stopped before they entered European markets or were seized afterwards, at 28 percent, followed by clothing (23 percent), electrical appliances (nine percent) and motor vehicles (eight percent).
They included soft toys with stuffing that could come loose and choke a child or those with detachable pieces that could be swallowed by them. In particular there were lighters that resembled toys such as model bicycles and basketballs.
Shoes and leather articles for example may be tainted with allergenic Chromium VI, while fashion jewelry may contain harmful heavy metals.
Just 14 percent of the dangerous products came from European countries, seven percent from unknown origins and two percent from Turkey, according to the watchdog.
Concern remains over the proportion coming to Europe from manufacturing giant China, which has huge market penetration in the 28-nation EU.