What Is the DMF Test for Manufacturers and Suppliers?

If your manufacturer is putting dimethyl fumarate (DMF) in your textile, leather, furniture and footwear products, you could face costly recalls and legal action. Here's how to get your products tested for DMF.

What Is the DMF Test?

The DMF test is carried out on products made of textiles or leather, including furniture and footwear, to detect the presence of the chemical dimethyl fumarate (DMF).

DMF is a volatile substance that is commonly used in the textile industry as an antifungal agent to kill molds which can grow on leather, paper, and organic textiles when they’re being stored or transported.

Dimethyl fumarate is often added to permeable silica bags (desiccating sachets) which are placed in product packaging to absorb moisture and prevent mold growth during transportation. If DMF is contained in a desiccating sachet, it can result in contaminating the material or product itself.

How the DMF Test Is Performed

DMF tests are carried out on samples of the products and/or a decent sachet to check for traces of dimethyl fumarate.

Pieces are cut from a sample product or the contents of a decent sachet are crushed to be analyzed. For shoes, bags, textiles, leather and silica bags, the following DMF testing methods are stipulated by the 2009/251/EC directive:

DMF Extraction Methods
  • Ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE)
  • Solid-phase microextraction (SPME)
  • H2O extraction
  • Acetone extraction
  • Filtration

The Dangers of DMF

Exposure to the skin of small amounts of dimethyl fumarate can cause allergic reactions, acute eczema, and skin burns. Numerous tests have revealed that patch tests on human subjects using trace amounts of DMF, between 0.0001% and 0.1% can cause allergic reactions.

As a result of the European Union continually receiving reports of consumers suffering skin allergy, acute eczema and skin burns due to contact with shoes or leather sofas containing DMF, the European Commission passed Directive 2009/251/EC in 2009, effectively banning the use of dimethyl fumarate in products placed on the EU market from 1 May, 2009.

The Importance of Complying with the Dimethyl Fumarate Test to Manufacturers

If your products are found to be contaminated with DMF, or DMF is found in a desiccant sachet included in the packaging, you will be ordered by the authorities to withdraw the product from the market.

If the products you attempt to import into the EU are found to contain DMF, the import will be rejected by the authorities. You’ll also be responsible for the costs related to withdrawing products from the market or returning rejected imports.

How the EC Monitors Imported Products

The European Commission operates a ‘safety Gate’ rapid alert system which enables quick exchange of information between 31 European countries and the European Commission about dangerous non-food products posing a risk to health and safety of consumers.

The weekly reports of the rapid alert system frequently feature products that authorities have ordered withdrawn from the market because they were found to contain DMF.

DMF Test Alert Example

Here is a video explaining how the European Commission monitors and tests products.

What is the Dimethyl Fumarate Regulation?

The use of dimethyl fumarate in products imported into member states of the European Union was banned with the publication of the EU’s Directive 2009/251/EC (DMF).

After May 1, 2009, products containing DMF were prohibited from being placed on and sold on the market. The ban includes desiccant and fungicides pouches containing DMF in products and packaging. Additionally, products containing DMF which have already been placed and sold on the market were recalled.

According to Article 5(3) of the General Product Safety Directive (2001/95/EC), if a manufacturer or distributor finds out that one of their products on sale is dangerous, they have to inform the competent national contact. Each EU member country has a designated contact in charge of receiving and dealing with alerts of dangerous non-food consumer products.

How Can QIMA Help You?

Professional Worldwide Services

QIMA operates three ISO accredited in-house laboratories located in the US, France, Hong Kong, and China, which are fully equipped to carry out DMF tests.

DMF tests can also be conducted at labs in our extensive worldwide network of vetted lab associates. See our lab locations here.

Get Quick Results

We give you a rapid turnaround on test results with same-day inspection reports, which will be made available to you online so you can access them anywhere in the world. Click here to see an example QIMA report.

Affordable and Accurate

You’ll get transparent, accurate results from your DMF test for a fixed price that’s very affordable. Contact us here for an instant quote and more information.