LBL's new report Killer Jeans: a report on sandblasted denim uncovers that operators who blast sand at denim to create faded and worn patches are liable to contract a fatal lung disease. Tens of thousands of people working in the jeans industry are at risk of dying.


Jeans with a distressed look achieved by sandblasting often retail for as much as 180% of the price of a normal denim. Yet the hidden cost is paid by sandblasting operators working in the countries such as Bangladesh, China, Mexico and Egypt, who breathe in fine silica particles of powdered sand which gather in the lung. In Turkey alone, 47 former sandblasting operators are known to have died as a result of work related silicosis before the practice was banned by the government in 2009. Doctors suspect that as many as 5,000 Turkish workers may be suffering from unreported instances of the disease as a direct result of this killer fashion trend.

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