Target has joined the ranks of other clothing stores who have banned the practice of sandblasting denim because the technique has been linked with an incurable form of lung cancer, the Daily Mail reported.
Sandblasting is a factory technique used to make jeans and other clothing look ‘distressed’ or worn-in. It involves firing minute particles of silica on high pressure at denim, which gives the fabric a faded appearance.
However, factory workers who inhale the silica dust are in danger of developing silicosis, a potentially fatal pulmonary disease, according to the British newspaper.
Target said it is exploring other ways to distress denim, such as scraping the material by hand – a more laborious, but much safer process.
“Textile workers can simply distress denim by hand - with safer tools - resulting in the same broken-in look,” Jey Joh, Target's head fabric engineer, told Ecouterre.com.
Other stores, including Levi, H&M and Versace, have already banned factory sandblasting.