Monitoring Toxic Chemicals in Shoe Manufacturing

17/03/2021

Chromium VI, dimethyl fumarate, nickel and phthalates are just some of the hazardous substances and chemicals that might be significantly present in footwear. Because of the hazards and potential harm especially to young children with rapidly developing brains and bodies, the presence of those toxic chemicals in shoes should be strictly monitored and regulated.

Monitoring toxic chemicals in shoe manufacturing

Monitoring and regulation is an evolving challenge because of the diverse range of chemicals used in footwear manufacturing. For example, the raw materials themselves such as rubber, dyes, adhesives and synthetic polymers have already undergone chemical treatment. Chemicals have been also likely introduced during the manufacturing of the shoe components (e.g. insoles, laces, buckles). It’s the same case during assembly and finishing. For instance, leather tanning (to improve leather’s stability and durability) might eventually lead to the presence of chromium VI (can cause skin burns, pneumonia and other health problems).

There are also concerns during transport and storage (for both the components and the finished products). The desiccants for controlling moisture levels and mould growth might contain dimethyl fumarate (can cause burns, rashes and respiratory issues). There’s also the potential exposure and contamination during long-distance transport and long-term storage.

Because of those processes and complexity, it has been a challenge to strictly monitor and regulate the significant presence of toxic chemicals in footwear and clothing. Although there are now safety standards and measures, it still always remains a challenge, which is why reputable manufacturers continue to examine and develop safe practices from sourcing of raw materials down to the transport and distribution of the finished products. Both the upstream and downstream of footwear manufacturing present a risk when it comes to introducing toxic chemicals, which might then easily find their way to the customers’ skin and bloodstream.

Product safety, not just in food and beverages, has become a priority now that we’re aware of the toxicities and health effects of certain substances (one reason we now prefer organic and natural). We carefully read the labels and ingredients of the foods we buy from the supermarket. However, we have no idea about how our shoes and clothes were made. Most of us are not sure if what our children wear is safe for them.

Here at Garvalin Australia, we ensure product safety through our children’s shoes. We guard the entire supply chain and further enhance our efforts in developing safe and comfortable shoes for children. In addition, rest assured that the highest quality materials are used and the shoes are specifically designed for children.