H&M & Levis workers contracting silicosis in Turkish sweatshop
There are thousands of workers who have contracted silicosis as a result of their working conditions and the younger they are the quicker they die of it. Many of them are in their early 20s and many are from Kurdish areas as they are the poorest and most easily exploited when they travel to Istanbul to search for work. They showed one young man of 25 who couldn't walk home with his shopping and his two little daughters of about five and six years old had to take the bags out of his hands to help him. When he got home, he used a nebuliser to help him breathe with less pain, but there is no cure, not even surgery. He is now involved, with the help of a couple of doctors and lawyers, in getting other silicosis victims organised to try to get compensation - they will almost certainly die before any compensation comes through. Levis refused to accept any responsibility, or to be interviewed. I find it just so sick that these processes are used to make new jeans old and ragged so that they can satisfy idiotic fashion dictates and sell at inflated prices in the West. The Turkish government has now banned sand-blasting but the programme produced some evidence that suggests that it is still being used and that Levis are (contrary to their claims), still sourcing jeans from sweatshops using the, now illegal, process as well as other dangerous processes involving potassium permanganate and sandpaper.
The programme is called “Envoyé Spécial” and here is a link to the webpage: http://envoye-special.france2.fr/index-fr.php?page=reportage&id_rubrique...
Fashion Jeans, the Real Price
A report by Camelia Encinas and Pierre Toury
All the big fashion brands offer washed jeans: worn looking, artificially aged, holes, these jeans are more and more worked on. The more sophisticated the washing, the more expensive the jeans, which can cost up to €300. How are these jeans washed? This subject is taboo for the major fashion brands and the big retailers. Some of the processes used on the fabric are extremely dangerous. A serious illness affects thousands of workers at the gates of Europe. The major international fashion brands sub-contract part of their jeans production to Turkey. Until last spring, many Turkish workshops used the sanding method to bleach jeans. Workers blasted sand onto the jeans in small unventilated workshops. They worked without protective equipment and breathed in highly toxic dust. This practice is absolutely prohibited in the European Union. In April 2009, Turkey also decided to prohibit it. Officially, 600 Turkish workers are affected by silicosis, but they really number in their thousands. This is a respiratory disease that had almost disappeared from Europe. In the last century, silicosis decimated hundreds of thousands of miners. It has reappeared now in Turkey, in a devastating form, with a more rapid mortality. Forty-four workers have died, most of them were less than thirty years old Do the fashion multinationals know about the devastating effects of sanding? What are the conditions under which jeans of the major brands are currently being produced in Turkey? The Envoyé Spécial [Special Correspondent] team met with the victims and investigated Istanbul workshops.