Friday, January 2, 2009

EU Concerns on DMF!

Background of the concerns

Since the beginning of 2008, there have been continuous reports by consumers in Europe suffering from rashes and other symptoms as a result of sitting on sofas and recliners from China. These sofas were found to contain sachets of the anti-moulding agent Dimethyl Furamate (DMF); inserted into such consumer products as an anti-fungal agent (to prevent moulding) during transportation. In some of the products, as much as ten times the usual quantity was placed inside sofas and chairs. Crystals of DMF contained in the sachets were placed between the cover and foam of the sofas, in which this substance is harmful in contact with the skin.

Since then, a popular French distribution chain has found footwear sold in its stores to have been contaminated by the same substance and has had complaints of skin damage as a result. Immediately, the company recalled all stock from the stores and is recalling the affected products from their consumers in an attempt to prevent further instances and to protect their brand image.

What is DMF?

The substance dimethyl fumarate is a white crystalline powder and has many names but can be identified by the CAS number as shown below.
Substance Name: Dimethyl Fumarate (DMF)
Substance CAS No. 624-49-7

The crystals of DMF transformed into toxic gases, particularly when exposed to heat. These gases can then pass through clothes to case the rash. It is harmful in contact with the skin and if in contact with the eyes could result in serious damage. Although, this substance must not be used in products, but there is the potential for it to come in to contact with the skin or the eyes. This is not just limited to upholstered furniture and footwear, it applies to all products where there is a potential for skin contact.

There is a similar short term with DMF but if different substances as below, that may confused in market.
Dimethyl Fumarate (富馬酸二甲酯)
Substance CAS No. 624-49-7

Dimethyl Formamide ((N.N-二甲基甲酰胺)*
Substance CAS No. 68-12-2

* Will discuss by the another post later for another DMF (Dimethyl Formamide).

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