The European Commission has adopted a draft decision to ban dimethylfumarate (DMF), a biocide commonly used to preserve leather consumer goods, such as footwear and furniture, from the EU market. The draft Commission decision is for an emergency EU-wide measure, pending the adoption of a more permanent regulatory regime concerning DMF.

DMF is a biocide used by manufacturers to prevent moulds from growing on leather goods produced in humid climates. The biocide, however, is linked to serious allergic reactions in consumers, including dermatitis, irritation, burns and respiratory difficulties.

The European Union has already banned DMF for use in the manufacture of goods in the European Union. But manufacturers located outside the European Union, particularly in China, use DMF in products that are then exported to the European Union. The Commission’s proposal would effectively extend the EU ban on DMF to imports, and would also mandate that any products containing DMF that are already on the EU market be withdrawn promptly. Before taking effect, the Commission’s decision must be submitted to the European Parliament for consultation and the College of Commissioners for final approval.