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Dimethylfumarate (DMF) product ban causes confusion
May '09
The recent directive issued by the European Union (2009/251/EC) restricting the import of products that contain dimethylfumarate is causing confusion among retailers and importers of consumer goods.

Dimethylfumarate is a biocide used to prevent mould growth on products during transit or storage and is most frequently supplied in the form of a permeable paper sachet through which the chemical will be released. Dimethylfumarate is recognized as a potential skin irritant and has been implicated in cases of contact dermatitis from furniture and footwear in several EU countries.

SATRA Technology Centre is finding that problems are arising because dimethylfumarate is often abbreviated to DMF which is also used as an abbreviation for dimethylformamide, a solvent associated with the manufacture of polyurethanes which is harmful by inhalation. Dimethylformamide is not banned, but restrictions do exist through the system of workplace exposure limits (WELs) on exposure of workers who may have to deal with it during manufacture.

As dimethylfumarate is supplied in paper sachets some of SATRA's customers are asking whether this affects silica gel. Silica gel is a desiccant designed to reduce the moisture in the atmosphere around packaged goods to limit the potential for mould growth. From SATRA's experience we have not found any sachets of silica gel which have been contaminated with dimethylfumarate, nor have we seen any sachets incorrectly labeled one for the other.

SATRA advises manufacturers, importers and retailers to establish that the correct sachet is being packaged with the product. It is also worth mentioning that any silica gel used should be clear as the pigment used in blue-pink silica gel is a recognized carcinogen.

SATRA Technology Centre

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