Hell For Leather – investigating the leather industry in Bangladesh

Must-have handbags? shoes to die for? From cheap trinkets to luxury car interiors, Jim Wickens discovers the startling facts behind what we buy into when we buy leather goods

Driving into the secretive alleyways of Hazaribagh, the first thing to hit you is the stench. A putrid cocktail of rotting flesh intermingled with nose-numbingly sharp tanning chemicals hangs in the air.

Tens of thousands of people toil here every day, living, breathing and dying amid a deadly mix of hundreds of chemicals pumped out by the leather tanneries that operate here.

It is a world made of leather. Barefoot children collect strips of it; chickens nest in it; babies play in it – even the cooking fuel here is made from it: toxic, dried blue strips of aldehyde- and chrome-treated leather that burns ferociously in every household stove.

To read the full investigation, click here.

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