Chromium (VI) in leather

Project No. BIA 2023


completed 12/1994


Tanning is a process used to produce leather resistant to environmental factors. Tanning agents may be of plant or mineral origin. Chromium tanning is the most frequently used procedure; approximately 90% of all leathers are tanned by use of chromium. As a rule, basic chromium(III) sulphate is used. In the course of further processing, however, chromium(III) compounds may oxidise to become chromium(VI), which is known to be carcinogenic. Apart from workplaces in the leather processing industry, where workers are likely to get into contact with chromium(VI), skin contact with chromium(VI) may also occur when protective leather clothing such as gloves, shoes or helmets (headband) are worn.


Practical testing of the analytical approach described in the international standard ISO - 92.0111 applying to chromium(VI) in leather. Participation in an interlaboratory trial based on the ISO standard (organisation: German Berufsgenossenschaft for the leather industry). Analysis of various leather materials. Evaluation of the results.


A measuring method was developed to determine chromium(VI) in leather materials (e.g. protective gloves, protective footwear, headbands in protective helmets) and to monitor the limit value applying to chromium(VI) in leather (2 ppm). The method was validated in interlaboratory trials. It is used as a standard method for chromium(VI) in leather within the measuring system for hazardous substances run by the German Berufsgenossenschaften (BGMG).


DIN EN 420 "Allgemeine Anforderungen für Handschuhe" (Entwurf Juli 1998), prEN 420, 1998

Further informations:

Last Update:



Financed by:
  • Hauptverband der gewerblichen Berufsgenossenschaften (HVBG)
Research institution(s):
  • Berufsgenossenschaftliches Institut für Arbeitssicherheit - BIA


Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


Krebserregende Stoffe, Messverfahren

Description, key words:

chromium(VI), leather, inert gas, photometric determination, protective clothing