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3. Results

In this chapter, the results from the non-compliant products are given. The non-compliance rate between the different product categories, between the types of e-commerce actors and between the location of the responsible actors is explored.

3.1    Non-compliant products

In this project a total of 412 products were checked for regulated substances. The products were bought from 146 different actors, distributed between marketplaces (17), dropshipping stores (37) and web shops (92). The overall results when it comes to compliance for all products reveals that 152 (37%) of the products inspected were found to be non-compliant, as shown in figure 1. All these non-compliances are related to products containing regulated substances above the restriction limit. The non-compliant products were bought in 74 different e-commerce stores.
Figure 1. Overview of compliance and non-compliance for all the products analysed in this project.
If we look closer at the non-compliances (figure 2), we see that jewellery has the highest rate of non-compliance (73%). Also, electrical products (60%) and especially electrical toys (69%) have a high rate of non-compliance. At the other end we find childcare articles (0%), chemicals (10%) and interior articles (13%).
Figure 2. Non-compliance rate for the different product types
The result from the chemical analysis based on location of the companies is given in figure 3. 29% of the products bought from national companies were non-compliant. 37% of the products bought from EU based companies were non-compliant and 66% of the products bought from outside EU were non-compliant.
Figure 3. Overview of compliance and non-compliance per location of company (n= number of results).
In figure 4, an overview of the results per company type is shown. The results show that there is a non-compliance rate of 21% for the web shops, 31% for the national marketplaces, 51% for the global marketplaces and 70% for the dropshipping stores. There were 37 dropshipping stores in the project. 19 were located nationally, 15 within EU, 1 non-EU and 2 of unknown location.
Figure 4. Overview of compliance and non-compliance per company type (n= number of results).

3.2    Restricted substances and materials

In many cases, different materials in the same product were tested and each material was tested for several substances. For example, for an electrical product, both the soft plastic parts and also, the metal soldering point inside the product were tested. The restricted substances were predominantly found in metals and soft plastic. Lead, cadmium, phthalate (DEHP) and short chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCP) were the restricted substances most often found. The following substances were found above restriction limit in the project:
  • Lead: in 85 of the products, predominantly in the soldering point of electronics
  • Boron: in six slimes for children
  • Cadmium: in 42 products: 22 jewellery, 14 electronics and 6 in PVC
  • Phthalates (predominantly DEHP): in 54 products, mostly in PVC
  • SCCP: in 38 products in PVC, mostly electronics (29)
  • PAHs: in two tattoo inks
  • Formaldehyde: in two fingerpaints
  • Nickel: in two products:  jewellery and PVC
  • Nitrosamines: in five toys (rubber part)

3.3    Enforcement measures

Contact with e-commerce actors

When a non-compliant product was found, the responsible actor for the product was contacted. However, in five cases, we were not able to get in contact with the actor behind the dropshipping store.

Follow-up of non-compliance

The national authority notified the actors about the non-compliance in writing. Most of the actors voluntarily withdraw the product from the market. However, in 29 (19%) of the cases, the product was either never removed or it had reappeared when we controlled the webpage a month after the written notice. The 29 products were bought in 12 different stores. These were mainly global marketplaces (4) and dropshipping stores (7).
The policies and legislative possibilities for prosecution differ among the countries. The Swedish market surveillance authority reported 29 actors (44 products) to the prosecutor. The actors were almost all national based companies; dropshipping stores (16), web shops (12) and one national marketplace.