Veganism and vegetarianism is all the rage these days. It has become so popular that you can vegan versions of not just your favorite snacks and treats, but even vegan beauty products, vegan food alternatives, vegan snacks, vegan clothing, and vegan shoes. You’ll find that pretty much anything that can be made without using animal products will be marketed as “vegan”, and marked up with a higher price tag in order to entice those interested in the vegan lifestyle.
Vegan leather is a hugely popular choice among hardcore vegans, who believe it to be safe and eco-friendly. But is it really? Is vegan leather really as safe as it’s made out to be, or is there a real danger of using products like vegan leather?
Why Vegan Leather Can Really Be Dangerous
Vegan leather is the fancy name given to materials like “pleather” and pretty much any material that is used to make leather-like goods without actually using the skin of cows, deer, and any other animals.
While there are a few vegan leather products that are safe, they are usually made with either cork or kelp-based materials. These two natural substances make safe, eco-friendly leather, and you’ll find that they wear very nicely as well.
However, the sad truth is that very little of what is sold as vegan leather is actually made with these eco-friendly materials. Often stores will pawn off their pleather goods as vegan leather, and vegans will buy them naively unaware that they’re loaded with chemicals and unhealthy additives.
The reason that these vegan leather items made from pleather are so unhealthy is because pleather is actually a type of synthetic material. It’s either made from PVC – the same stuff sewage pipes are made from – or they’re made using compounds of textiles and polymers. Essentially, it’s little more than a form of plastic masquerading as an eco-friendly product.
What’s worse is that the production of the vegan leather emits a lot of chemicals. These chemicals are absorbed into the atmosphere, adding to the pollution in the air and increasing the amount of damage being done to the ozone layer. The chemicals are also harmful to those producing the leather, so those working in the factories often end up with health problems as a result of exposure to these chemicals.
The production of anything made from PVC produces dioxins, as does the destruction of PVC products. Dioxins are sadly all too common in the human body these days, and they are known to cause all kinds of problems – including increasing your risk of cancer and throwing off your development.
None of these PVC or polymer-based synthetic products are biodegradable, and even the ones that claim to be still produce micro-particles that are absorbed into the bodies of every animal that comes in contact with them. The particles are able to enter the food chain at every single level, meaning that the phthalates released by these vegan leather products being broken down can be found in the bodies of bears, squirrels, deer, and even bugs.
The problem is, the only alternative to this vegan leather is real leather, and that’s something true vegans would never wear. The fact that the material came from dead animals means that they cannot touch it, so their only alternative is to wear the vegan leather products – no matter how harmful they are.
Or, just don’t wear any kind of leather. It may be a hard saying for the more fashion conscious, but the truth is that no leather is better than most vegan leather!