Since When is Formaldehyde Not Toxic!??
Healthy feet are our passion at Soft Star - and one of the ways that is manifested is on our insistence of sourcing only formaldehyde-free leather. As this is no easy task and something unique about our shoes, I was surprised the other day to run across a claim of a major soft-shoe competitor's website that their shoes are made using non-toxic leathers.
Further inquiry with their customer service revealed that their definition of "non-toxic" included leather processed with formaldehyde. Their claim is that the levels of formaldehyde in the leather are within "safe standards," but there is no safety standard for formaldehyde use in children's footwear. Also, the environmental impact of processing with formaldehyde is severe enough that even the U.S. outlawed it years ago. Not only does formaldehyde smell horrible - it can cause contact dermatitis, be absorbed transdermally (through the skin) and is a major environmental contaminant of tanneries that use this process. Personally, I would not want my child putting leather in their mouth that has formaldehyde residue in it. 99.8% of the shoes sold in the United States today are imported from countries which unfortunately have little or no regulation around the safety and environmental guidelines on leather production or usage. If you are not sure about a shoe brand, ask their customer service if the leather in the shoe is processed using formaldehyde. Many major brands that comply with the British and US safety standard BS 5665:EN71 still use formaldehyde.