Chrome VI Testing on Products

BLC offers UKAS accredited chrome VI testing at our UKAS accredited laboratory; we are one of the fastest testing laboratories in Europe and can provide chrome VI testing results within 3-5 working days. We are in a unique position, with over 95 years’ experience of leather and related products, to identify the compounds that are likely to be present in materials tested, where they may originate and the likelihood of false positive results.

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What is chrome VI?

Hexavalent chromium VI is the hazardous form of the naturally occurring chromium element and the safe trivalent form of chromium used in tanning. Chromium III tanned leather can form traces of chromium VI under certain environmental conditions. The conversion from Chromium III to Chromium VI is an oxidation process and can be facilitated by the factors like heat, UV radiation, changes in pH, presence of unsaturated organic compounds (e.g. natural fats), oxidizing agents and many other factors. Often several of these factors need to be present at the same time.

The formation of Chromium VI from Chromium III can be slow which means that articles not containing Chromium VI directly after production of the leather may develop some Chromium VI during transport and storage, especially where there is a propensity for chrome VI to form due to the conditions outlined.

Under well managed production conditions, chrome tanned leather should pose a very low risk of containing chrome VI. Poor process control, poor quality chrome powder and adverse storage conditions can however, cause the formation of the harmful hexavalent form of chromium.

The risks

Chrome VI is recognized as a human carcinogen when it is inhaled. Chronic inhalation of chrome VI has been shown to increase risk of lung cancer and may also damage the small capillaries in kidneys and intestines.

Why carry out chrome VI testing?

The new legislation on chrome VI will come into force on May 1st 2015; the forthcoming restriction will state that leather articles and articles containing leather parts that come into contact with the skin cannot contain 3 mg/kg or more of chromium VI by weight of the total dry weight of that leather part. This means all such articles that come into contact with the skin are within the scope, regardless of the length of time of the contact.

Examples of products that are within the restriction scope include:

  • Footwear
  • Gloves
  • Clothing
  • Accessories e.g. hats
  • Belts and braces
  • Watch straps
  • Purses and wallets
  • Bags
  • Horse riding gear
  • Dog leashes
  • Automotive seats
  • Covers for car steering wheels
  • Furniture

Why choose BLC to conduct your chrome VI testing and analysis?

  • One of the fastest testing laboratories in Europe
  • Experts in chemical testing and compliance – over 95 years’ experience
  • Technical support and guidance if and when failures occur
  • Solutions to cleanse and reduce toxic chemicals from your supply chain
  • Expert advice and solutions on legislation and supply chain compliance
  • Access to chemical supply chain specifications

Read more about BLC Chemical Testing

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