People will go to great expense to look good, but there are times when the human cost is simply too high. A clear case-in-point is sandblasted jeans.
The process to create the look uses high-pressure machines to weather garments with crystalline silica. Inhalation of crystalline silica has been tied to an incurable lung disease in workers called silicosis.
According to a Los Angeles Times report, 40 garment workers in Turkey who were exposed to crystalline silica died between 2005 and 2009 (presumably from silicosis, although it’s not stated in the article). That nation banned its use in 2009.
Target has just announced it would end the sale of sandblasted jeans by year’s end and would continue the ban until a process is developed that doesn’t put garment workers at risk.
Jey John, the lead fabric engineer for denim and wash at the retailer, told A Bullseye View, Target’s blog, “The safety of factory workers should not be compromised for the sake of fashion. We hope that Target serves as a meaningful example to the apparel industry, both in the United States and around the world.”
Levi Strauss was one of the first companies to end sandblasting.
“Factories that do not rigorously enforce proper health and safety standards for sandblasting put unsuspecting workers at risk,” David Love, SVP & chief supply chain officer, Levi Strauss & Co., told A Bullseye View. “The best way we can help ensure no worker — in any garment factory — faces this risk is to move to end sandblasting.”
Target says it will stop selling sandblasted denim by year’s end – Los Angeles Times
Fashion Forward: Target Bans Sandblasting on Denim – A Bullseye View
Clean Clothes Campaign