Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) product ban and recall9 April 2009
The presence of the chemical dimethyl fumarate (DMF) in consumer products such as leather sofas, has been blamed for causing damage to health. The European Commission has now produced legislation that effectively bans DMF from the European market.
Dimethyl fumarate (DMF) is used to prevent mould growth that can cause deterioration of leather furniture or footwear during storage or transport, especially in a humid climate. DMF is often contained in pouches fixed inside furniture or added to footwear boxes, where it sublimates protecting product from mould. Often, the pouches look similar to those used to contain silica gel, a non-harmful desiccant frequently used in leather products.
In France, Poland, Finland, Sweden and the UK, consumers have experienced skin irritation, redness and burns and, in some severe cases, acute respiratory difficulty, which is said to have been caused by DMF contact with skin.
European Directive (2009/251/EC) was published on the 17th March 2009 and requires that products containing DMF are not placed on the market: this means the presence of DMF in one or more pouches or in a concentration greater than 0.1 mg/kg of the weight of the product or part of the product. The directive also requires any product containing DMF that has already been placed on the market be withdrawn by May 1, 2009 and consumers to be made aware of the potential risks.
Any manufacturers, sourcing companies or retailers concerned about DMF are advised to contact the SATRA Technology Centre to test their products for the presence of the chemical or seek advice on alternative anti-mould treatments to dimethyl fumarate.