reported excessive levels of substances of concern in
leather or leather goods as part of a project to check compliance
with the REACH restriction of hexavalent chromium.
HSE has also undertaken its
own investigations, looking at hexavalent chromium and azo dyes in
leather workwear gloves.
Trivalent chromium is used in
the leather tanning process. Under certain circumstances this can
convert to the toxic form, hexavalent chromium.
Annex XVII of REACH legislates that hexavalent chromium
in leather gloves should be <3 mg/kg when the glove can come
into contact with skin. Azo dyes may be used as colourants in the
leather. Certain azo dyes can under reactive conditions cleave to
produce primary aromatic amines which are known carcinogens and
classified as skin sensitisers.
What We Did
HSE tested 51 gloves from
safety workwear suppliers and, in similar findings to the Swedish
study, about 10% exceeded the limit of <3 mg/kg for hexavalent
chromium whereas no exceedances were found for azo dyes.
This work was conducted by
Analytical Chemistry team. Our analytical services could
help you in your product assurance testing.
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