EU To Ban Chemical Used In Chinese Leather Goods

European Union says it will ban dimethyl fumarate, which is used in Chinese leather shoes and sofas and can cause severe allergic reactions.

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) -- The European Union says it will ban a chemical used in Chinese leather shoes and sofas that can cause severe allergic reactions.

Dimethyl fumarate, or DMF, prevents mold growing on leather goods produced in humid climates.

But customers in France, Britain, Finland and Sweden have complained that it causes skin rashes and breathing problems.

The chemical is already outlawed on goods produced within Europe, but that ban will now extend to imports -- and will largely affect goods from China.

EU spokeswoman Helen Kearns said Thursday the ban must be approved by the European Parliament and the European Commission, and it go into force within two months.

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