IULTCS label Blacksmith Institute report as sensationalist

5 December 2011

The IULTCS (International Union of Leather Technicians and Chemists Societies) have expressed deep concern regarding the recent listing of ‘Tanning Operations - Chromium Pollution’ as one of the world’s worst toxic pollution problems by the Blacksmith Institute.

Globally, most tanneries operate sustainably and within compliance of local regulations and industry standards. There are some tanneries that do not do an adequate job of treating their waste, but these represent a very small percentage of total leather production and do not characterise the whole industry.

Dr Rajamani, Chair of the Environmental Commission of the union, said in a statement: ‘Clearly the most important, and a specific omission of the report, was the failure to adequately distinguish between the form of Chromium used by the leather industry today. Chromium III is used exclusively, it is essentially non-toxic, it does not constitute a significant threat for the environment, and it is not a risk for consumers of leather products’. The IULTCS, along with other legitimate industry organisations are working very hard to improve the impact of leather making on the environment, but for the Blacksmith Institute to imply that the leather industry today is a major polluter of toxic Cr VI is inaccurate. This is sensationalist and not appropriate.

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