NEW! The Interactive Guide to Chemical & Physical Testing for Footwear is now LIVE!

FDRA's Guide to Managing Chemicals in Footwear was updated to include physical testing rules and regulations thanks to TUV SUD - and now we are pleased to announce the guidebook is now online and interactive!

FDRA and TUV SUD have created a google-like search tool for the guidebook.  Any FDRA member company can now use this site to see what chemicals are restricted around the globe, as well as what are the accepted levels and substitues you can use.  The site also has physical testing guidelines and a catalog of global testing laws and insights. 

Make sure you sign up for a user name and password
(FDRA member access only), bookmark it and use it often!
We invite all footwear compliance directors and professionals to attend FDRA's Product Safety & Sustainability Summit. New rules and regulations at the Federal level and continued discussions at the state level mean companies must adapt to be fully compliant on footwear restricted substances and safety requirements. This summit will feature presentations by U.S. officials (CPSC), chemical experts, and top footwear compliance directors who will share insights and best practices. You can click here for a current working agenda.

PLEASE NOTE: We will be holding a FDRA member-only product safety working group meeting the afternoon of May 27th. We will discuss several important points impacting the industry, and hear from TUV SUD on a few critical issues before cocktails. This is your chance to help FDRA craft new programs to help you!  There is no charge for this, so if you are able please fly in for this the day before the full summit.  You can register for this meeting here.

Footwear Testing Insight
TUV SUD explores how much testing goes into footwear

There are many potential defects which can cause footwear to fall foul of regulations. Testing is an essential process to protect businesses against product recall and ensure that a product meets expected standards. In particular, testing facilitates product quality control, allows for a comparison with competitors’ products, ensures product compliance with regulations and also plays a role in increasing the understanding of the materials or processes which are involved in product manufacture. Testing is therefore an essential process in terms of both safeguarding and product research.

FDRA Partners with Labs for Quarterly Footwear Fail Rate Reports
FDRA has been working with labs to put together a quarterly report showing the top 10 footwear fail test (chemical) rates. This report was concived by our product safety working group (hence why you need to attend our next meeting and summit!) and encompasses data on thousands of tests by labs in China. 

We hope these reports help members get a scientific view of product safety issues – allowing them to better manage risk by comparing their results to these lists and coordinating with their factories to focus efforts on certain chemicals that may be of most concern.

We want to thank TUV SUD and SGS for compiling and analyzing their footwear testing data.  The top 10 footwear fail tests (chemical) for July – September 2016 can be found here .

This report is for FDRA members only – it should not be transmitted or publicly reported without express permission from FDRA.  The next report will be collected and released in the coming weeks after Chinese New Year.
Ever had an allergic reaction to a leather shoe or watch?
TUV SUD looks at Chromium VI

The growth of the global middle class has given rise to an increase in demand for high-quality leather footwear, and a corresponding increase in regulation and testing of such products for contaminants. In particular, the contamination of treated leather goods with Chromium (VI) is a major problem. Regulation pertaining to Chromium (VI) contamination exists in China and in the EU, where almost all consumer products are covered by REACH legislation.

Chromium (VI) is known to be carcinogenic, it is an environmental pollutant, and it is also a known allergen, with a significant proportion of the population experiencing contact dermatitis when exposed.

Basically, Chromium (VI) is produced during the Chromium leather tanning process, through which the leather acquires strength, good elasticity, and suppleness. Chromium tanning is currently the most frequently used tanning process. Over 80% of all worldwide leather is chrome tanned, especially in shoe industry where that figure is closer to 95%.  Chromium (III) salts are used to tan the skins and hides during chrome tanning, so what causes Chromium (VI) pollution in leather?  

Deeper Dive: Why Chromium (VI) in Leather Footwear Remains a Continual Challenge - and How to Address it in Your Supply Chain

Chrome VI is believed to be a dermatological irritant and, if present in large enough quantities, is a potential carcinogen.  That is why Chromium VI is a restricted chemical in California (Prop 65) and in Europe (REACH). Over the past 6 months, there has been rather high fail rates when it comes to Chrome VI in footwear - making this webinar a must watch for footwear compliance professionals.