Making Your Shoes Safe to Wear: The Central Leather Research Institute in Chennai

If you own a pair of leather shoes or a leather belt, chances are they, or the leather they’re made of, were made in India. India is one of the world’s biggest producers and exporters and leather and leather goods. As the Indian government recognized the importance of the leather sector for the country, the Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) was founded in 1948 as part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research to ensure the quality of goods, especially those intended for export. In our interview, Dr. K. J. Sreeram of the CLRI explains how their research has contributed to the safety of leather goods worldwide.

I visited the institute’s Center for Analysis, Testing, Evaluation and Reporting Services in Chennai last week. has been working together with Metrohm successfully for many years. One of the key results of the partnership has been a method for the quantification of hexavalent chromium, or chromium(VI) in leather products. Hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen, and it can occur in leather as a result of tanning. With the method developed by the CLRI and Metrohm, which has become the international standard method, chromium(VI) can be determined at very low levels.

The Head of the Center for Analysis, Testing, Evaluation and Reporting Services at the CLRI, Dr. K. J. Sreeram, and Senior Technical Officer R. Chandrasekar told me about hexavalent chromium, how it ends up in leather, and how their method helps ensure the safety of leather products around the globe.

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