The denim sector of Turkey is renowned world over but there’s apparently a dark underbelly to it as well, which was exposed by a recent report of Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC).
The report released by the CCC documented the harmful effects of potassium permanganate (PP) spray on workers doing denim bleaching.
The 21-page study, Bleached Denim, Bleached Souls, investigates the nature of the substance, which is a popular alternative to sandblasting in Turkish garment manufacturing companies.
The report sheds light on the conditions faced by workers–who are often from Pakistan and have migrated to Turkey to work, sometimes illegally–and details their subsequent health issues, including respiratory and skin conditions.
According to researchers interviewed in the report, respiratory diseases like Byssinosis and Silicosis have been traced back to the preparation and application of the chemical, and are often misdiagnosed as a result of the patient’s reluctance to provide employment background.
The CCC also found a lack of inspection practices and safety protocols within the factories and workshops investigated. Further, as the report noted, there were occasions when workers needed medical attention and were not properly cared for.
The Clean Clothes Campaign is the garment industry’s largest alliance of labour unions and non-governmental organisations. The civil society campaign focuses on the improvement of working conditions in the garment and sportswear industries.