Environment and health

Environmental impacts of fur

The production of fur is associated with high environmental costs. Far from being natural, sustainable resources, fur production is an intensely polluting and energy-consumptive process.

Animal skin, once removed, will rot, unless it is treated with toxic chemicals. Even then, it must be kept cool and guarded against insects. It takes at least 4 times more energy to produce a real fur coat than to produce a synthetic fur coat, mostly due to animal feed and emissions of manure.

Environmentally harmful products including chromium and formaldehyde are used in the processing of real fur garments to keep them from rotting. Many fur farmers and processors have been fined for releasing toxic waste into the environment.

Health risks

In the process of conserving, bleaching and dying pelts, various hazardous chemicals are applied. Extensive international research has pointed out that toxics in fur pose a serious health risk. High levels of chemicals as formaldehyde and ethoxylates are found in most fur trims, which can cause allergies, cancer and hormonal imbalance.

Toxics in fur are absorbed through air or skin and can remain in the body for over twenty years, causing chronic health effects. Recent studies in Italy, The Netherlands and Germany have detected significant harmful amounts of toxic substances in fur trims on children fashion wear by brands as D&G, Woolrich, Canada Goose and Nickelson.

Toxics in fur

More facts on the environmental and health


Poisons in Furs (2011)
A study by EcoAid commissioned by FOUR PAWS.

TOXIC FUR: The Impacts of Fur Production on the Environment and the Risks to Human Health (2009)
A report by the Humane Society of the United States.

Toxic Fur (2016)
A report of the research laboratory Bremer Umweltinstitut commissioned by Bont voor Dieren.


FACT SHEET The Environmental Impact of Fur

Natural mink fur and faux fur products, an environmental comparison (2013)
A study by independent research institute CE Delft, commissioned by Bont voor Dieren, GAIA and LAV.

Environmental Impact of Mink Farm Production (2011)
A study by independent research institute CE Delft, commissioned by Bont voor Dieren, GAIA and LAV.

Cruelty is Not Green
A report by The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.

The impacts of the mink industry on freshwater lakes in Nova Scotia (2011)
A study by the David Suzuki Foundation.

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