Tens of thousands of dangerous toys, cosmetics and electrical appliances seized in 10 months

More than £732,000 worth of consumer goods, including toys, cosmetics and electrical items which pose a health risk, have been seized by trading standards officers in Gloucestershire.

Since March 2021, Gloucestershire County Council safety officers have removed nearly 22,000 unsafe or non-compliant items from the market.

This includes 7,511 young children’s toys with sharp edges or choking hazards, putty with traces of heavy metals and 4,000 women’s clothes that had sharp edges at the closures.

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Officers also seized more than 5,145 electrical appliances.

This includes wringers that could run with the door open, Covid foggers that gave electric shocks, and security cameras with non-compliant outlets and electrically dangerous adapters and lights.

They also seized 3,393 non-compliant disposable electronic cigarettes and 1,000 cosmetic products, including sunscreen causing skin irritation.

“Consumers assume, naturally, that all products available for purchase comply with the law and will be safe to use – this is not the case,” an official report from the county fire chief reads.

“Since March 2021, security officers have removed nearly 22,000 unsafe or non-compliant items from the market.

“Placed in an independently validated formula, these 21,985 seized items have an estimated value of £732,100.50.”

The report also highlights how the pandemic has accelerated the shift to “cottage industry” style businesses with people making products from home or importing items to transform or simply resell, often via social media.

“This presents a specific challenge for this service as a market surveillance authority – it is increasingly difficult to have a degree of understanding of the local market and to identify high risk activities or businesses,” continues The report.

“There has been an increase in inquiries from local businesses about how they can make handmade toys, cosmetics, clothing, candles, jewelry and other products and what they need to do to comply with the law, but from what we can gather in the marketplace, those who ask are a fraction of those who are in business.

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“Where products present a particularly high potential risk of damage, electrical products, toys and cosmetics, the safety requirements are particularly strict and require the responsible person to compile technical files, safety reports and to carry out rigorous testing to ensure they are compliant.

“Many domestic manufacturers or importers are unaware that this responsibility lies with them as the person bringing the product to market in the UK, for some who do know it becomes a barrier to market entry.”

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