On May 26, 2022, the European Commission issued a safety recall for some Alpinestars GP Plus Gloves due to a higher level of chromium VI than is allowed by the current regulations. This can trigger allergic reactions, and may also cause cancer, according to the safety alert notice.
This alert specifically applies to a single batch of Alpinestars GP Plus gloves in the black and white colorway, which were made in 2015. The affected batch number is OA86990, and the model number is 3556513-12. Batch numbers are marked in this model of glove via a small tag that is located directly under the care tag in the cuff of the glove.
According to the EC alert, these gloves should be withdrawn from sale, effective immediately. They’re also banned from marketing, and should be recalled from those who have purchased them. It’s not clear at this time what the recall plans are for these gloves. Current European regulations on this chemical for articles that come into contact with your skin limit it to 3 milligrams per kilogram, although Bennetts adds that Germany allows zero exposure by law. By contrast, this batch of gloves was found to have approximately 17 mg/kg.
A different form of chromium called chromium III is often used in the leather tanning process. Under certain circumstances, it can oxidize and become the more irritating chromium VI, which can irritate skin and pose a cancer risk according to some health authorities, including the World Health Organization, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
These Alpinestars GP Plus gloves were also found to be out of compliance with a European regulation called REACH, which stands for “Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals.” It’s been on the books since June 1, 2007. Under this regulation, companies are required to both identify and manage risks associated with any and all chemical substances they create and/or use within the European Union.
Since this is an older model of glove, it’s not clear how readily available it is in stores. Discount retailers often have older gear on hand, and of course there’s no telling what the age of the gear in your closet might be. Also, motorcycle gloves don’t come with built-in expiration dates like helmets do. Your riding frequency/intensity and satisfaction with the gloves you’ve purchased in the first place probably have more to do with how often you buy a new pair.
In any case, if you think you might have these gloves in your gear collection, now could be a good time to think about a replacement.
Sources: European Commission Safety Gate, Bennetts, European Chemicals Agency, U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration