Dietrich is the President of the International Union for Leather Technologists and Chemists Societies (IULTCS) since January 2016. He is also the Vice President at LANXESS responsible for Global Crusting Development and Leather Industry Relations. He is a chemist who started his career at Bayer in 1989, and moved with the spinoff of the chemical business in 2004 to the newly founded company LANXESS. With various positions in process development administration and R&D management he now served as senior manager for over 15 years for the leather business.
Outside the company Dietrich served as Executive Committee Member for the Leather Working Group for 4 years. Currently he is an executive of the German Union for Tannery Chemicals and Technologies (VGCT) and the TEGEWA, an association representing the German chemical industry.
15:45 – The Tanners’ Response: Alignment on Realistic and Scientific Sound Restriction of Chemicals; Panel Discussion
The industry can be proud of the progress regarding the elimination of leather processing chemicals with high concern, which took place during the last 20 years. It has been a big aligned effort driven by NGO’s, regulatory representatives, brands, tanners, the chemical industry and the R&D community such as universities and institutes. The addition of a MRSL system (Manufacturing Restricted Substances List) preceding RSL control in articles has been appreciated by all stakeholders and will further reduce the potential environmental risk. Today we have reached a level, where we can state, that leather produced under Best Available Technologies (BAT) results in is a safe substrate for consumers, the leather making process is safe for workers and in harmony with the environment – and that leather is a fully sustainable product. The focus now has to be on the implementation of BAT’s in the global tanning industry as fast as possible.
For practically all chemical species a No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL) or an equivalent can be defined, which means there is a zero risk threshold. This should be the guiding principle (or base without guiding) for any restriction. Although each restriction has to be updated according to latest scientific findings, a competition in a further reduction of threshold values would be counterproductive. It can e. g. trigger raw materials to be phased out completely and regrettable substitutions take place with substances that are less evaluated.
Due to latest observations we would like to discuss this topic in the panel to hopefully align on a reasonable consent.