Furniture Chemical Linked to Skin Rashes

A <"">chemical that is being added to furniture shipments coming into the United States from China is likely the cause of a red rash people have been experiencing on the back of their legs, said WebMD Health News. The chemical is used to prevent mold growth.

According to physicians, the chemical is being linked to what WebMD described as severe rashes. Dimethylfumate (DMF) can make its way in the fabric of furniture and can also penetrate clothes when someone sits on the furniture, according to Joseph F. Fowler Jr., MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, said WebMD. Fowler also explained that DMF is also used when clothing and shoes are shipped, a problem given that some people are extremely allergic to the chemical that Dr. Fowler said is a preservative, wrote Web MD.

Those who are allergic to DMF can develop contact dermatitis, which is a rash that can appear anywhere on the body, according to WebMD. The skin becomes irritated, dry, and chapped and then becomes red, scaly, and inflamed, noted WebMD. The first five cases of what is now being described as “an epidemic of Chinese sofa and chair dermatitis” occurred in Europe in 2008, said Dr. Fowler, who was speaking at the yearly American Academy of Dermatology meeting, quoted WebMD.

“Since then, there have been a good 1,000 cases in Europe, maybe more,” Dr. Fowler added, noting that while there have been no reported cases in the United States, cases have been seen in Canada, wrote WebMD. Dr. Fowler did say that he treated a man who developed the rash on his foot from a shoe contaminated with DMF; the rash cleared after the footwear was disposed, reported WebMD.

DMF is delivered, said Dr. Fowler, in “little packets, or sachets, that are then put in with furniture, clothing, and shoes to prevent mold during shipping,” quoted WebMD. Dr. Fowler believes that as news spreads about this problem, “we’ll be hearing about a lot more of these cases,” according to WebMD.

Of note, China is a country long associated with products that have been found to be dangerous and linked to an increasing and significant string of recalls and consumer injuries.

We have been following the issue of defective, sometimes dangerous, imports making their way into this country from China. This issue surrounding chemicals included with shipments into the United States from China is just one of many concerning defective products, food, and medicines imported into this country from China. Such imports have been making headlines in recent years and this is just another one of many such issues.

In 2008, nearly 80 percent of all product recalls in the U.S. involved imports from China. Products such as dog food, baby formula, toys with lead paint, and even pharmaceuticals like heparin were found to have been made with toxic materials and other counterfeit ingredients that have long put American consumers at significant health risks.

Also making news is the ongoing and massive Chinese drywall disaster involving imports from that country.

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