18 Feb 2016

Analyze leather without sample preparation

Control chromium levels in leather with the Quest ATR

The Specac Quest ATR spectrometer accessory can provide easy testing for harmful chromate in leather.


Through extensive contact with the skin, chromium can be toxic and cause contact allergic dermatitis, as well as triggering other diseases. This effect is most common when chromium is found in the salt form.


Yet this substance is still used in parts of the global leather production trade for the tanning process. As a result, chromium ions are often present in leather materials and can therefore make contact with people on an everyday basis.

Many suppliers are increasingly preferring vegetable oil-tanned leather. It poses less health risks and is traditionally thought to leave a smaller environmental footprint.

However, although chromium is preferred by some for large-scale tanning processes, with ever improving waste treatment regulations and technology, the environmental impact of this process is being reduced.

Due to international trade laws and guidelines, testing chromium in leather has become an essential part of quality control. It is important to ensure that any chromium present is below a certain level and prevented from converting into the harmful hexavalent form.

The Specac Quest ATR Accessory provides the easiest way to test a sample of leather quickly and accurately, using ATR-IR spectroscopy.


With the Quest it is possible to analyse leather shavings directly without the need for further specific sample preparation steps by grinding the sample or compressing it into pellets. This means leather can be quickly analysed at various steps of a production line.

Chromium is also used in wood preservation and metal finishing processes. Therefore, many industries using substances that can have potentially harmful effects to the consumer could benefit from use of Quest as a fast and accurate testing method for their products.

Check out #SpectroscopySolutions for more.