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Eurofins adds Chemical Safety Testing for leather in China
23
Mar '10
Eurofins Scientific announce the addition of leather testing to its range of services offered from its state-of-the-art laboratory in Shenzhen, China. The way that leather is produced and the wide range of products that incorporate leather means that compliance with a range of regulations in North America and Europe is essential for manufacturers of these goods.

Leather is a very popular choice as the main manufacturing material for a variety of consumer goods including shoes, handbags, belts, leather gloves and household furniture, all of which come into close contact with the human body. Leather itself can be used in many forms in order to make use of its qualities of flexibility, durability and its organic origin: natural, coated, patent, Nappa, nubuck, buckskin plus many more. In addition, substances like artificial or bonded leather are used in a similar range of products but are mostly chemical-based.

The very nature of the leather manufacturing process (tanning, curing, washing and colouring) uses large amounts of treatment chemicals, coloring agents or process-enhancing substances and the risk that they are present in high levels in the final product is substantial. Most of these chemicals are of potential health concern to the consumer and therefore these substances are subject to more and more stringent legislation and regulation.

The most widely recognised pieces of legislation are REACH in Europe, CPSIA in the USA and “Proposition 65” in California. The list of banned substances for leather products include Azo Dyes with a European-wide limit of 30 ppm, carcinogenic Chromium 6+ and preservatives such as pentachlorophenol and formaldehyde. Furthermore Dimethyl fumarate (DMFU), used as an anti-moulding agent in leather and textile goods, was banned EU-wide in 2009.

Manufacturers and retailers of a very wide range of products should consider both the composition of their goods and all types testing that might be needed:
- Any goods and children's articles made of coated leather need to be tested for additional chemical parameters such as cadmium, tin organic compounds, alkylphenol ethoxylates and phthalates.
- Brightly coloured leather products pose the risk of containing pigments based on heavy metals, especially lead and cadmium. Both heavy metals are banned in most countries of the European market and lead in the US under the CPSIA regulations.
- Dark coloured leather materials with skin contact require testing for PAH (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons).
- Products made from artificial leather including shoes,handbags and gloves release the substance Dimethyl formamide (DMF) which is classified in Europe as a carcinogenic substance.
- VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) testing is necessary to identify any potential harmful substances that are released from strong-smelling products: this is particularly relevant to leather.

Eurofins has recently invested in brand newconsumer testing facilities in Shenzhen and Shanghai in China, both of which have opened in the last two months and which contain the latest in product testing technology and offer all of the tests mentioned above. As part of the Eurofins Group's global network of laboratories it means that customers can take advantage of a unique and comprehensive portfolio of tests anywhere they choose around the world.

Eurofins Scientific is a life sciences company operating internationally to provide a comprehensive range of analytical testing services to clients from a wide range of industries including the pharmaceutical, food and environmental sectors.

Eurofins Scientific

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