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Alert on dangerous toys from China

Nearly half of all dangerous consumer products withdrawn from the EU market last year were made in China, the European Commission said Thursday.

The Commission said it was working with China to improve standards, focusing particularly on safer toys, a category that overtook electrical appliances to top the EU's list of problem products for the first time. National authorities sent out alerts to other EU nations on 924 dangerous products last year. China supplied 440 of them, a reflection of its position as one of the biggest exporters of consumer goods to the European Union. Alerts were up 32% from 701 cases last year.

The European Commission said better cooperation between national customs authorities led to more dangerous products being taken off the market. They ranged from below-par teddy bears to faulty hairdryers, toxic cleaning sprays and unsafe cigarette lighters, it said. The 27 EU countries tell the EU executive when they find a product that poses a serious risk to health and safety and the information is shared to stop the products circulating.

More than 40% of these alerts were triggered by businesses coming forward with problem products, the EU said, praising this as a sign of growing safety awareness. The highest numbers of dangerous goods were spotted in Germany, Hungary, Greece, Britain and Spain, it said. (