This is a 8 part series. Every week we'll post one of the reasons we think leather doesn't belong in the modern wardrobe. To see all posts, click here.
In addition to killing animals and being toxic to our planet, the leather industry is also directly causing human misery, and deaths. The same toxic chemicals that hurt communities and the environment around leather tanneries, are in direct contact with, breathed in daily by tannery workers, and multiple studies have shown the devastating effects on these labourers.
In Sweden, researchers followed tannery workers for more than 40 years and found that they had a higher risk of developing prostate cancer and melanoma. A paper published in the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed similar results after reviewing a number of international studies, concluding that tannery workers had an increased risk of getting lung, pancreas, skin, kidney, bladder, sinonasal, testicular and soft-tissue cancers.
Overall, the life expectancy of tannery workers is less than 50 years due to the harsh working conditions and exposure toxic chemicals.
And, if that wasn't bad enough, child labour is a well documented practice in leather tanneries. Workers as young as 11 are reportedly working in Bangladesh tanneries, as we speak.
11-year-old boy exposed to dangerous chemicals | Source: Barcroft Media
Remember, transparency in the leather industry is non existent. It's virtually impossible to know for sure where your leather - the raw material - came from.
Knowing that most of the leather used globally comes from third world countries that have little or unenforced regulations regarding workers, animals and the environment, it's easy to see why leather should be banned from our wardrobes.
Plus, who needs leather, anyway?
With so many alternatives available today, it really is a no-brainer.