Are you allergic to leather?

Video Highlights

00:22 - What people are allergic to
00:56 - What chemicals are involved in the leather production
01:21 - What is Chromium
01:39 - One of the major contact allergens worldwide
02:15 - What the EU has done for regulating the usage of Chromium
02:44 - Chromium in the fashion industry
03:15 - Making the right choice?
04:05 - Impact of leather production on the environment
04:20 - Ethical brand?


Video Transcript

Hi guys, Laurent Bleu here the founder of FRiLuk and in today's video we are going to talk about people being allergic to leather.

Allergic to leather? Yeah.... and I am not referring to people being against the use of animals in the fashion industry. There are people that are genuinely allergic to leather.
Well, actually they are allergic to the chemicals contained in the leather. You see what people don't realize is that in order to produce...let's call it a satisfactory product for the consumers and I am talking about... you know...handbags, shoes, wallets, belts made of leather, many many high corrosive chemicals are involved during the process and I can guarantee you that many people don't know that.

And we are talking about serious stuff such as Soda Ash, biocides, Chromium sulphate, I mean... really bad stuff.

So back to this allergy thing, it is called contact dermatitis, and the main reason why people develop contact dermatitis when they use leather products, it is because of the chromium contained in the leather. So Chromium actually is used during the tanning process of the leather and that's basically the really bad substance for people suffering from contact dermatitis.

So if I go back a little bit in the history of contact allergens... Nickel is actually the number one contact allergen worldwide; very known that people have developed sensitivity to this substance and that's why back in 1994 the EU regulated the usage of Nickel in consumers products. Now when it goes to Chromium or Chrome, interesting enough it is also known and not necessarily regulated in all the segments of the industry.

What I am talking about here, for instance, is that when workers built the tunnel between the United Kingdom and France, an outstanding 17% of the cement workers developed an allergy, a contact dermatitis mainly due to the chrome contained in the cement. So, because of that, in 2005 the EU regulated the amount of chrome contained in cement... good stuff! However, nothing has been done for the fashion today, factories keep manufacturing leather and during the tanning process use chromium has the main substance to tan that leather, however, nothing is regulated and to me, that's a bit of a shame.

Now the thing is... as always, we don't have to wait for any government or administration to vote a new law or a new regulation; I think it's down to us as consumers to make the right choice. So, you know, if you look at your leather products, I am not here to judge, you do whatever you want of course... but I think what people need to realise today is... the impact of their actions, the impact of their buying habits on the environment.

You know what FRiLuk does, we want to promote sustainable products, eco friendly products, and a lot of people are looking at us saying that you know, it's mainly cruelty free, yes we've been PETA approved, etc... but I think... that's what I wrote in my blog, my very first post blog, you can check it out on the main reason for me was the environment...because it is absolutely amazing how harmful the leather production is for our environment.

More than that, you know... there are workers every day exposed basically to all those substances is harmful to their health! So being an ethical brand promoting ethical fashion is also to care about that and that's what we want to do, with you.

So I am not here to convince you necessarily, but more to bring this awareness of... you know... what basically is behind the production of leather product: highly corrosive substances, harmful for the environment, harmful to the workers, so...up to you guys, you make the right choice, anyway I wish all of you an amazing day and I see you in the next video.

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