Under an agreement with ISO the IU Commissions have the responsibility to develop and introduce ISO Standards for leather testing. This arrangement brings efficiency to the industry and avoids needless duplication and proliferation of test methods. Leather manufacture is a relatively small industry from a test method perspective; so the involvement of the IULTCS allows input from leather industry experts and scientists from around the world to ensure our test methods are relevant for leather, applicable worldwide, relatively easy to perform, and based on best scientific practices.

Members of the scientific commissions include Joan Carles Castell (AIICA – Spain) WG1/IUC, Mike Wilson (SATRA – UK) WG2/IUP and Campbell Page (TFL- Switzerland) WG3/IUF. Paola Visintin from UNI (Italy) who also acts as Secretary for the group.

Experts present at the Pirmasens meeting included G. Galvanese and R. Mascolo (SSIP – Italy), K. Schutte (PFI – Germany), H. Schulz (FILK – Germany), S Schroeder (IKEA – Sweden), J C Cannot (CTC – France), E Scaglia (UNIC – Italy), R Meyndt (LGR – Germany), T Moreno (BLC Leather Technology Centre – UK), S Milanesi (CIMAC – Italy) and R Painter (Pittards – UK). These meetings are open for all scientists who are interested in Test Method development. During the development phase, test methods are circulated internationally by ISO and made available on the IULTCS website for input from IULTCS country members. Leading analytical laboratories run comparative testing to ensure statistical validity and repeatability of the methods.

Examples of important methods accepted or undergoing formal acceptance procedures, include standards for measuring heat resistance, water repellency, fogging, flame resistance, colour fastness, formaldehyde in chemicals, azo dyes, preservative and metal contents in leather, tensile and tear strength, softness, soiling, and colour fastness. Every five years the Standards are reviewed to check they are up-to-date and relevant, currently under review are tests for chrome oxide and chlorinated phenol content in leather, accelerated ageing, area measurement, and silicon content. There are several new work items that will shortly be circulated, such as dimensional shrinkage and identification of leather using microscopy. This latter method is important for the industry as more synthetic materials that masquerade as leather crowd retail stores and confuse the consumer.