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Eye injuries from 'toxic sofas' is part of largest consumer class action.

EYE INJURIES, allegedly caused by furniture imported from China, have triggered the largest consumer injury class action in UK history.

More than 5,000 people have reported eye, skin and chest injuries after using the furniture which, it is claimed, has been produced with Dimethyl Fumarate (DMF).

The white crystalline power chemical is used by manufacturers to prevent mould caused by humid conditions growing on leather. However, advice about its contact with eyes claims it can cause 'severe eye irritation and possible eye injury: Chemical information sources such as chemcas.orgstate that DMF can produce 'tearing and burning pain' to eyes.

Birmingham-based solicitors Russell Jones Walker (RJ&W) is leading the High Court case against a number of high-profile retailers including Land of Leather, Walmsleys and Argos. RJ&W has called for the government to follow France's lead in order to protect UK consumers from DMF contaminated furniture by banning the import of all products containing the chemical. It has also urged other members of the European Union to extend the ban on a continent-wide basis.

'By contrast: said a RJ&W statement, 'while the Department of Business, Enterprise, and Regulatory Reform (BERR) in the UK has known there was a serious issue with affected sofas since October 2007, no action, other than a voluntary product recall by retailers, has been taken to safeguard the UK punic:

Richard Langton, a partner at the solicitors, said: "Thousands of people have already suffered a painful allergic reaction to their sofa because of inadequate safeguards. In France, within weeks of the outbreak being identified, all imports have been banned. A voluntary system is clearly not enough because it is impossible to tell whether a product has been treated with DMF until the user develops a painful dermatitis.

"Anyone who suspects injury, usually an unexplained rash, should stop using the product and obtain immediate medical advice."
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Publication:Optometry Today
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 16, 2009
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