The Turkish Thoracic Society met last week in Antalya for their 11th Annual Congress. There was concerned discussion of the sandblasting of jeans in small Turkish workshops which has recently been recognized as a cause of silicosis.
The Ataturk University, School of Medicine conducted a case series between August 2004 and March 2006 concluding that the production of sandblasted jeans in small uncontrolled workplaces may entail significant exposure to silica and the development of rapidly fatal silicosis. Urgent action is required to prevent further cases and mortality.
Sandblasting has been used in the fashion industry since the 1970's. It's use has spread rapidly in the jean industry since vintage jeans became popular in the early 1990s. By the end of the decade "new vintage" jeans were mass produced. The worn look is often achieved through sandblasting which takes place in Mexico and Turkey.
Del Forte Denim produces jeans that do not use sandblasting. They are looking into ozone washing and using natural enzymes like coffee and tea in order to lighten the environmental footprint of Del Forte Denim. They also integrate practices like hand sanding as opposed to sandblasting.