DMF Emergency Ban
No. 11/2009 The biocide dimethylfumarate, commonly known simply as DMF, is set to be prohibited in consumer products as of 1 May this year, while stocks of such products that are already placed or made available on the market on that date will have to be withdrawn, with recalls from consumers also becoming necessary.
According to Commission Decision 2009/251/EC, furniture and footwear in several Member States, have been identified as the cause of damage to the health of consumers. The source of such damage was discovered, pursuant to clinical tests, as being DMF, which is a biocide that prevents moulds appearing on leather goods during storage or transport in humid climates. DMF is often contained in little pouches fixed inside the furniture or added to footwear boxes. Although it evaporates, it impregnates the product (to prevent mould); in consequence, it enters into contact with consumers, penetrating through clothing onto their skin, causing painful skin contact dermatitis, itching, irritation, redness and burns, as well as, in some cases, breathing difficulties.
Commission Decision 2009/251/EC applies to all goods intended for consumers or likely to be used by them even if not intended for them. As of 1 May 2009 Member States shall ensure that products containing DMF are prohibited from being placed or made available on the market. And Member States will have to ensure that products containing DMF and already placed or made available on the market are withdrawn from the market and recalled from consumers, and that consumers are adequately warned of the risk posed by such products.
In relation to the aforementioned ban, a "product containing DMF" means any product or part of a product where either the presence of DMF is declared, such as on one or more pouches, or the concentration of DMF is greater than 0.1 mg/kg of the weight of the product or part of the product.
Commission Decision 2009/251/EC shall be applicable until 15 March 2010. That said, there is no reason precluding its renewal by the Commission for further one year periods, if another more permanent solution is not found in the meantime.
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