Sep 8, 2010
Levi Strauss & H&M ban sandblasting
Sep 8, 2010
Distressed jeans are the goal for any sandblasting apparel worker. The two labels ban this potentially very harmful finishing technique due to the exposure of the toxic crystalline silica component, effedtive from September 8.
Levi's distressed denim
Counterfeit operations are the real problem as the factories do not tend to implement the correct safeguards for the workers. So despite H&M and Levi's rigourous health and safety precautions, a ban has been put in place, effective immediately to take a stand in the industry, so other companies can eventually follow suit.
Ethical concerns of denim manufacturing is a hot topic. Fibre2fashion reported in July this year that the making of one pair of Levi 501s required almost 920 gallons of water, 400 mega joules of energy and expelled 32 kilograms of carbon dioxide. Levi's said this was equivalent to running a garden hose for 106 minutes, driving 78 miles and powering a computer for 556 hours. While more than 520 million pairs of jeans are sold in USA alone each year environmental regulations in less developed countries are particularly insubstantial.
Alternatives to silica sandblasting for “worn” denim techniques still consist of repeated washing and rinsing and bleaching, chemical blasting with toxic substances, dye stripping or bleaching with potassium permanganate.
Karl Gunnar Fagerlin, Production Manager at H&M says monitoring the practices’ standards at all levels of the supply chain, particularly with subcontractors has proven difficult for the label so any purchasing or retailing of sandblasting will no longer take place and from the end of the year active production of this type will have disappeared completely.
By Rosie Hart
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