EU bans DMF in consumer products such as toys and orders recalls

On May 1, a European Commission Decision comes into force to ensure that no consumer product containing the strongly sensitising DMF is placed on the market in the EU. The biocide dimethylfumarate (DMF) has caused severe allergic reactions, including skin itching, irritation, redness, burns and, in some cases, acute respiratory difficulties, in hundreds of consumers in the EU because of its use in imported every day consumer products such as couches and shoes. There has even been one case of a soft toy for small children. If already on the market, these products will have to be recalled and withdrawn without delay, and consumers will have to be informed about the serious risk. The Commission Decision is an EU wide emergency measure, pending the adoption of a more permanent regulatory solution.

EU Member States approve world-wide rules for labelling of chemicals

The European Commission welcomes the agreement by the EU Member States to align EU legislation on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures to the United Nations Globally Harmonised System (GHS). This new system will ensure that the same hazards will be described and labelled in the same way all around the world. By using internationally agreed classification criteria and labelling elements, it is expected to facilitate trade and to contribute towards global efforts to protect humans and the environment from hazardous effects of chemicals. The new regulation will complement the REACH regulation on the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. The European Parliament already the 3rd of September this year approved the GHS regulation. The next step will be its publication in the Official Journal, thereby making the EU one of the international leaders in the actual uptake of the UN system.