Inspectors commissioned by the European Chemicals Agency have found high concentrations of toxic chemicals in consumer products. As an example, every fifth toy inspected contained high levels of restricted phthalates. Asbestos has also been detected in second-hand products.

Inspectors in 27 European countries checked 1 009 mixtures, 4 599 articles and 17 substances. Overall, out of 5 625 targeted product checks, 18 % did not comply with the restrictions imposed by the REACH regulation.

The most frequent breaches were: phthalates in toys (20 % of the inspected toys at levels above those permitted), cadmium in brazing fillers (14 %) and asbestos fibres in second-hand products (14 %) such as catalytic heaters, thermos flasks, brake pads. According to the ECHA, they were probably produced before the restrictions prohibiting the sale of products containing asbestos came into force.

Inspectors also found high concentrations of chromium VI in leather articles (13 % of the tested products) and cadmium in jewellery (12 %).

17 % of the breaches were found with products imported from China.

Source: ECHA