Many products on non-EU online stores unsafe: Consumers Assoc.

Power bank bought from a non-EU online store
Power bank bought from a non-EU online storeConsumentenbond

Shopping at online stores outside the European Union entails irresponsible risks, according to a sample study conducted by Dutch consumers' association Consumentenbond and five of its European counterparts. Two thirds of the 250 products they examined did not meet the safety standards required to be sold in EU stores, the association said on Monday.

The organizations studied products like USB chargers, power banks, toys, smoke detectors, Christmas lights, and jewelry, which they bought from online stores including AliExpress, Wish, Amazon, LightInTheBox, and eBay. They found problems with 165 of the 250 studied products.

USB charges can shock users or overheat. A number of the smoke detectors did not sound the alarm in the presence of smoke. 90 percent of the Christmas lights were not in order. Some of the toys contained up to 200 times the permitted amount of plasticizers. Most tooth whiteners contained more hydrogen peroxide than permitted. And 70 percent of the jewelry contained too high concentrations of heavy metals. 

"I am really shocked by the results. Consumers are insufficiently aware that they are buying things from providers who do not comply with European rules," Consumentenbond director Sandra Molenaar said. "As a result, they run enormous risks. Something has to happen in the area of awareness."

The association calls on Dutch consumers not to buy clothing, jewelry, cosmetics, toys, or devices that operate on electricity through platforms outside the European Union.