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CONSUMER PROTECTION : EU BANSaDIMETHYLFUMARATE IN CONSUMER GOODS.

Consumer goods such as couches and shoes containing dimethylfumarate (DMF), a highly toxic substance, will soon be banned on the EU market. If they are already being sold, such products will have to be taken off the market without delay. The European Commission's proposal for a decision establishing this total ban, adopted by the member states on 29 January in the General Product Safety Committee, constitutes an urgent decision at EU level pending a permanent regulatory solution. The draft decision must be submitted to the European Parliament for consultation before being presented to the Commission for final approval.

Consumer Protection Commissioner Meglena Kuneva commented: "There can be no compromise on safety. I am pleased to see that the RAPEX system has been functioning well to ensure that dangerous goods containing DMF are quickly removed from the market. But we need to go further with urgent EU action to tackle the problem at the source". The commissioner plans to introduce an EU-wide ban on the use of DMF in all consumer products.

REGULATIONS IN FORCE

DMF is already prohibited for use in the manufacture of goods in the EU, since biocidal products containing DMF are banned under the Biocides Directive (98/8/EC). Third-country manufacturers may nevertheless use such unauthorised biocides and export their products to the EU. The decision therefore protects EU consumers against the risk of DMF contained in imported goods, replicating the level of protection in the Union.

In December 2008, France adopted a decree suspending for one year the import and marketing of seating and footwear containing DMF. The French decree also orders the recall of all seating and footwear which visibly contains, or the packaging of which visibly contains, DMF. In January 2009, Belgium adopted a decree banning the placing on the market of all products containing DMF. Spain is also considering such a measure.

Rapid alert system

RAPEX is the EU's rapid alert system for dangerous non-food consumer goods. It provides a rapid exchange of information between member states and the Commission to prevent marketing or use of products posing a serious risk to consumers' health and safety. Further information is available at ec.europa.eu/consumers/safety/rapex/index_en.htm

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Publication:Europe Environment
Date:Feb 5, 2009
Words:367
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