Toxic Sofa Dermatitis from Furniture from China

When furniture stores wanted to dramatically increase their volumes of leather furniture, they turned to China and other countries. But there was a problem. The high temperature and high humidity during transport by sea caused mold and E. coli to grow in the leather, whether in stacked hides or on the finished sofas and chairs.

 

To inhibit this, some large Chinese manufacturers included desiccant sachets of silica beads laced with DMF (Dimethyl Fumarate). DMF was designed to evaporate and spread onto the leather to prevent the mold growth.

 

This had unintended consequences. The antifungal DMF was indeed absorbed by the leather, but then was passed on to the occupant’s skin or clothing. 

 

In Finland, France, and the UK in 2006-2008, an epidemic of people developed painful rashes or skin eruptions.  Doctors finally correlated the rashes to recent leather furniture purchases. 

 

In the UK alone, 5,000 cases were heard in the court system, and fines of greater than 20 million pounds were paid to these purchasers.

 

Summary:

 

If you are prone to skin allergies, be sure to ask the salesperson whether the leather item was made in China.  While the European Commission banned DMF in imports in April 2009, no such ban was created in the US. (DMF is the main ingredient in oral Tecfidera, and sold to treat MS Multiple Sclerosis patients. It provides $4 Bn / year to its owner Biogen.)

 

DMF is not likely present in the silica gel packets inserted in furniture fabric folds or shoe boxes today, but DMF was chosen as the Allergen of the Year in the US in 2011, to highlight that it was still used in overseas products.  It is not known whether DMF is applied near leather furniture and shoes before shipment, while omitting it from the silica packets.

 

Recommendation:

 

Please purchase your next furniture from a reputable manufacturer in the USA. These are handmade primarily in North Carolina family-owned companies, specified by you, constructed in 8-10 weeks, and shipped to you within 2 weeks later. Don’t bring mold into your home, and BUY USA!

 

(For references regarding all of the above, please click HERE.)

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