Avoid leather products
- Chrome-tanning, the most widely used method in the United States for converting animal skins into the leather you see on the market today, is a process awash in materials considered hazardous by authorities like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Waste produced from the process of tanning, dyeing and finishing leather includes formaldehyde, sulfides, oils, acids, coal-tar derivatives and residue from finishes. This toxic stew is linked to environmental risks, pollutes streams, lakes and rivers, and jeopardizes human health. Studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and other groups report that workers in such factories have higher risks of developing testicular, sinus and lung cancers, while residents around such tanneries have been linked to significantly higher incidences of leukemia.
- When these pollutants are combined with the waste generated by raising the animals destined for leather and meat consumption, things become even bleaker: forest trees felled for pastures, exorbitant fossil fuel use, and 1.4 billion tons of untreated animal waste produced in the U.S. alone. Whether tanneries stay in developed countries or relocate to elsewhere to take advantage of lax environmental laws and cheap labor, pollution of the planet is a problem that transcends geographic borders.
 Facts about Leather – The Animal Angle
- Leather is ridden with cruelty to both animals and humans. Cows are trucked in overcrowded trucks, dying from their injuries. They are beaten brutally while loading and unloading.
- Thousands are walked to the slaughterhouses tied to each other by their noses, bleeding and thirsty.
- Slaughterhouses like Al Kabeer take off the skin of the animal while it is still alive so that it is softer. The slaughterhouses in Kerala beat the cows to death by hammering their heads in. Cows are regularly poisoned so that a ready stock of skin is available.
 Facts about Leather – The Ecological Angle
- To process the leather , the most toxic chemicals in the world are used. Chromium, lead,cyanide, sulfides, ammonia,chlorides, various acids,heavy metals. These are let out of the tanneries which , in India , have no respect for any environmental laws , and seep into the ground and the rivers. From the time the Ganges reaches Kanpur, it dies becasue of the chemicals thrown into it. The rivers of Chennai are the same - can Tamil Nadu afford this ?
- Leather tanning uses huge amounts of water About 40 litres of chemical infused water is discharged for every single kg of skin. This has led to toxic pollution in the food we eat as the Ganges water is taken out and used for irrigation and drinking. Water for miles around tanneries becomes toxic . Everything smells. Cancers become common.
 Facts about Leather - The Human Angle
- Hundreds of papers have been written about the large scale poisoning of our waters by the leather industry. The fate of the workers, the poorest of the poor, is less known.
- Most of them suffer from skin poisoning, dermatitis and cancer, blood pressure, kidney failure, dysentery, rheumatic fever. Jaundice and tuberculosis is common. Fever is a normal state of being. People who live around tanneries weigh less, wheeze often, have ulcerated eyes and asthma.
- The largest group of leather users are school children. The 16 schools that have stopped using leather in Chennai means 26,000 children are out of the leather market and contribute that much more to India's well-being. Chandigarh schools have also started a movement to stop leather.