Nothing to Hide


Leather facts

Standards and use limitations for chemicals in leather production

About this essay

We first published essay seven in the Nothing To Hide series in the February-March 2015 issue of World Leather. Its author was Dr Alois G Püntener, and he has kindly provided this updated version of the essay as we drive forward with our updates of the series for the 2020s. Now retired, Dr Püntener is based in Switzerland and is still an active member of VESLIC, the Association of Swiss Leather Chemists and Technologists. He is well known in the wider industry as an inventor and innovator in the chemistry of leather production, with a host of patents to his name. He gained his doctorate in chemistry at the University of Stuttgart, Germany and spent time during his career working in Germany, France, the US and India, as well as Switzerland.

Executive summary

Responsible tanneries all over the world upcycle hides and skins, by-products of the meat industry, to create a valuable product instead of discarding it and letting it go to waste.
Chemicals are used in every step of leather production, but they are stringently regulated and tanneries provide safe, clean environments to work in.

The effects of chemicals on workers and consumers are well known. Production is carried out in a safe manner; chemicals are carefully controlled and good-quality leather does no harm. Quality checks and control of unwanted substances are necessary to protect leather processers and consumers.

For the consumer it is important that all tanneries and leathergoods manufacturers, as well as brands and retailers, comply with the EU legislation and other national regulations to protect the reputation of leather on a national and international scale.

Nevertheless, tanneries must constantly embark on innovation and to improve protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be caused by chemicals, while ensuring the competitiveness of the tanning industry. The leather industry is not a part of the problem but a part of the solution.

Read full essay online

Nothing to Hide © is a registered trademark of World Trades Publishing
This website is kindly supported by:
World-Leather leatherbiz