Most of us know what sand-blasted jeans look like – a distressed look in all the right places – and one that has increased in popularity as the technology behind the technique has made for more variety and precision in the style.
In fact, you may even own a pair of sand-blasted jeans. There they are, hanging in your closet.
But, did you know they could have caused someone’s death? That’s right, your jeans could be killing someone.
Change.org is charging Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) for using this process because it propels the dangerous dust into the environment when workers fire sand under high pressure at clothing. Once in the air, the dust finds its way into workers’ lungs and many develop incurable lung conditions and die.
Change.org states companies such as Versace, Gucci, H&M, and Levi’s have stopped using sandblasting for these reasons. “But D&G is still holding on — with disastrous consequences,” says a recent Change.org release.
Change.org is an online activism platform that allows participants to start grass roots campaigns or petitions from its site. The organization says it works with more than 1,000 of the world’s largest organizations and uses a team of hundreds of journalists and organizers around the planet.
If you are interested in signing the anti-sand-blasting petition, you may do so here. In reads, in part, “Silicosis has long been associated with workers in the mining industry and it is only recently that this illness has been documented among garment workers. However, from the current evidence, it is clear that this is a particularly aggressive form of the disease. Unlike the chronic form common to miners, which can take 20 years to develop, the acute silicosis experienced by jeans sandblasters develops within six months to two years of exposure. Therefore, workers are at risk of developing the disease after a relatively short period of exposure. Sandblasting operators are falling gravely ill unexpectedly and suddenly.”
The petition, run by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), says garment-producing countries such as Turkey and Bangladesh still sand-blast manually, exposing workers to silica, which causes silicosis in the lungs. “Eventually, workers die because they cannot breathe properly anymore. There is no known cure,” it says.
The CCC claims more than 1,300 people have signed the first Change.org petition – prompting Versace to announce it will no longer work with any supplier using sandblasting. According to the site, Versace advisor Tomaso Galli said, "Versace has specifically asked every supplier and will ask any new supplier as a condition to work with Versace to certify that they are not using sandblasting." If any supplier violates Versace’s policy, "they will be considered in breach of contract and dismissed accordingly." (WCxKit)
Currently there are nearly 26,000 signatures asking D&G to stop the practice.
Author Rebecca Shafer, JD, President of Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. is a national expert in the field of workers compensation. She is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Her expertise is working with employers to reduce workers compensation costs, and her clients include airlines, healthcare, printing, publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: RShafer@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
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