Occupational medicine: principles and practical applications, second edition. Zenz C, ed. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, Inc., 1988 Feb; :1036-1039
Information on exposure to chemical and physical agents in leather manufacturing, and health problems encountered in the industry were summarized. Manufacture of leather required the use of numerous toxic chemicals such as calcium-oxide (1305788), sodium-sulfide (1313822), ammonia (7664417), n-nitroso compounds, chromium (7440473) compounds, biocides, benzidine (92875) based dyes, and organic solvents such as formaldehyde (50000) and benzene (71432). Other risk factors were leather dust, infectious agents in the hides, and accidents on the factory floor. In the US, about 19,800 workers were employed in the leather industry. A listing of the chemical substances in the tanning industry and the Department of Labor Exposure Limits for these substances was provided. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leather tanning and finishing industry had the highest incidence of dermatoses of any working group in the US. Even though workers wore cotton gloves, no protection was afforded from continuous exposure to the tanning chemicals. An increased risk for nasal, lung, and bladder cancer was reported, with chromium, formaldehyde, benzidine dyes, and N- nitroso compounds as the suspected mutagens. The International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization noted a link between lymphomas, cancer of the lung, larynx, buccal cavity, pharynx, kidney and bladder, and employment in the leather industry.