What Is Sofa Dermatitis?

What is sofa dermatitis?

Sofa dermatitis is known as a skin allergy that can occur in people that have leather sofas, couches, and other upholstered furniture pieces, that contain dimethyl fumarate (DMF) and an anti-moulding agent. This can manifest and people could develop eczematous rashes and serious chemical burns.

In the first case that was mentioned in 2007, hundreds of people were diagnosed with this condition was one fatal incident was suspected. This pandemic had been spread in many countries such as the EU, US, and Canada. The EU has banned the use of DMF in consumer products.

The cause of sofa dermatitis is leather furniture that was manufactured in China that is packed with sachets of potent antifungal, DMF. You should keep the leather dry and mould-free during transit and store the sofa in humid warehouses.

The DMF is known to evaporate into the sachets, which will seep through into the leather and transfer onto skin and clothing. This will cause irritation and allergen that will produce a type IV hypersensitivity reaction in minuscule amounts. In addition, skin rashes and conjunctivitis have also been reported as the result of exposure to DMF.

Many patients complain that they aren’t relieved even after the cessation of direct exposure mostly from selling or disposing of the treated furniture. As you should know that the volatile chemical could remain in the air and then be deposited onto your furniture. Then it will transfer onto your skin when you encounter furniture such as a sofa, chair, or couch.


Most cases show that the patient will develop skin lesions of an eczematous nature most commonly on the back, the buttock, posterior of the thigh, and the back of your arm. It can persist despite treatment for the weeping lesions with topical corticosteroids.

The symptoms can be pinpointed by the specific allergy test that is conducted on the patient which will be performed with a thin layer of chromatography. The chemical that is present in the upholstered chair with the suspected fabric will be used for the patch testing and that will produce positive reactions in all the patients. Whose furniture is related to dermatitis? Sensitive patients are also more likely to show a cross-reaction to the allergic chemicals that are used in the upholstered furniture industry. DMF can strongly produce positive allergic reactions on the skin at dilution down to 0.01.

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