The use of the biocide (DMF) dimethylfumarate looks set to be banned across the European Union (EU) because it has caused severe allergic reactions in hundreds of consumers.
DMF is used as a biocide to kill moulds that may cause furniture or shoe leather to deteriorate during storage and transportation in a humid climate. Placed in sachets, which are fixed inside the furniture or added to the footwear boxes, DMF evaporates and impregnates the leather, protecting it from moulds.
Member States have voted in favour of a draft European Commission decision to ensure that consumer products, such as leather furniture or footwear, containing the strongly sensitising DMF are not placed on the market in the EU. If already on the market, these products will have to be recalled and withdrawn without delay.
In countries such as France, Finland, Poland, Sweden and the UK, consumers exposed to products containing DMF have experienced serious health problems including skin itching, irritation, redness, burns and, in some cases, acute respiratory difficulty.
The draft Commission decision calls for an emergency EU-wide measure, pending the adoption of more permanent regulations.
Following the vote, the draft Commission decision will be submitted for consultation to the European parliament before going before the College of Commissioners for final approval.