National campaign led by Suffolk Trading Standards finds high levels of dangerous chemicals in leather products


Nearly a sixth of leather products tested in a national campaign, led by Suffolk Trading Standards have failed to reach government-regulated standards.

Suffolk Trading Standards testing glovesThe investigation, funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), tested for high levels of Chromium 6 and Azo-dyes in leather gloves sold a personal protective equipment, leather bracelets and straps, leather gloves sold as fashion items and leather shoes intended for very young children who are capable of putting their shoes and feet in their mouth.

Of 157 samples taken across the UK, 25 failed. One product, a baby’s shoe, had 8.6 times higher than permitted levels of Chromium 6.

Chromium 6 content is restricted under EU regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) and poses a risk to human health. It can induce sensitisation and allergic responses in individuals. Certain Azo-Dyes are considered to increase peoples’ risk of developing cancer.

A total of 25 Trading Standards teams and the Health and Safety Executive took part in the campaign – the biggest survey of its kind in the UK. Any failure is being followed up by the authority that took the sample, with authorities working with retailers, distributors and importers to ensure unsafe products are withdrawn from the marketplace.

A number of the samples were purchased from Amazon and eBay, and sold from outside the UK. These listings have all been removed so no further purchases can be made.

Councillor Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection, said:

“The results of this campaign show how important it is for us to test these products.

“It is clear to see how dangerous these products can be if they are not regulated and I thank Suffolk Trading Standards for taking the lead on this task and other authorities for their assistance.

“The work undertaken shows we are committed to keeping people safe and holding traders to account.”