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LOS ANGELES, June 18, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR), a non-profit for improving human and environmental health is battling deforestation.

“The world urgently needs more trees, not less. Let’s avoid this new way of destroying trees before it gets started. Don’t be fooled by the phrase “Vegetable Tanning.” It is NOT better for the environment,” says CNN Hero Dr. Anne Hallum’sAlliance for International Reforestation.

Some leather companies use the term “vegetable tanning” to imply that it is “eco-friendly. In fact, some organizations say that “Vegetable tanning is a form of misleading ‘Greenwashing.’ Vegetable tanned leather is not made specifically with ‘vegetables,’ the primary ingredient is, in fact, tree bark.”

As more leather companies move to the vegetable tanning process, it could destroy a mass amount of trees and lead to further deforestation. 

To educate the public about the concerns of “vegetable tanned leather” these organizations put together the following Q&As:

Q: Can vegetable tanning lead to deforestation?

A: Yes, “Barks were removed from trees with 12 to 15 years old…since it is the time when barks are richer in tannins.” (National Institutes of Health) “Removing the bark of the tree removes its circulatory system and will kill the tree.” (Quora)

Q: Can vegetable tanned leather lead to future pandemics?

A: Yes, scientists have demonstrated, that deforestation could cause a myriad of devastating effects to our ecosystem, wildlife, climate, health and lead to future pandemics.  According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention “The majority of viral pandemics are triggered by human activities such as deforestation.” As stated on Global Citizen “Human activities such as deforestation are increasing the risk that animal-based viruses such as COVID-19 will jump to humans and cause pandemics in the future, according to the Guardian.”

Q: Can vegetable tanning increase the effects of climate change?

A: Yes, according to Scientific America, “By most accounts, deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads.” The EPA warns, “Humans are largely responsible for recent climate change…The choices we make today will affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put in the atmosphere in the near future and for years to come.”

Q: Can Vegetable Tanned Leather contain Harmful Chemicals?

Yes, scientific studies show that trees absorb dangerous heavy metal pollution, including hexavalent chromium, lead, cadmium and other chemicals (National Institutes of Health). If companies use toxic filled bark to make their products, these chemicals could be introduced into the leather material through the vegetable tanning process.

On the other hand, the current way of tanning leather, which is used by over 80% of the world’s leather companies, established ways of tanning leather that creates a safe product. The European Commission concluded that measures can be taken to create safe leather and it has been widely adopted by most leather companies in the world, including the United States.

In conclusion Anne Hallum says, “Let’s avoid this new way of destroying trees before it gets started.” Vegetable Tanning could cause devastating environmental effects, lead to future pandemics and introduce harmful chemicals into leather products.

For more information on deforestation, please visit AIR at https://www.airguatemala.org

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SOURCE Alliance for International Reforestation

Related Links

https://www.airguatemala.org