Environmental impacts of beef: industrial pollution
Chromium contaminationIn the United States more than 20,000 cattle hides are tanned per day. Some 23.5% of these are processed with vegetable tannins. The remainder is tanned with chromium, a pollutant categorised as a heavy metal.
Though US tanneries are required to treat their effluent before it is discharged (Conner et al. 1999), tannery effluents in many parts of the world are high in chromium and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) levels. Chromium contamination of water sources in surrounding areas harms both humans and wildlife.