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Your Distressed Jeans Are Probably Made By Distressed Workers

by Abby Zimet

Breathless for Blue Jeans, a new report on conditions in six denim factories in the Chinese province of Guangdong that make half of the world’s blue jeans, finds that sandblasting to "distress" the fabric is still widespread despite most Western brands banning the practice because of its link to silicosis and other deadly lung ailments. More on the hazards workers face from chemicals and "black dust," and the campaign by several advocacy groups to ban sandblasting and improve brutal working conditions.

"The temperature on the shop floor is high. It is difficult to breathe. I feel like I’m working in a coal mine.”

To find jeans made in the U.S.A:


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