Major UK retailers such as Asda, Burton, Next and Tesco have been accused of continuing to source from factories linked with significant chemical pollution. These facilities have allegedly been leaking toxic chemicals into rivers and the surrounding environment, potentially linked with illness and premature deaths in those areas.
The accusations follow the publication of the Dirty Fashion Revisited report. In this report, the conditions of two viscose factories in India and Indonesia have been described as “markedly worse”, since similar expose was published last year by the Changing Markets Foundation.
In short: the report looks into the factory sites that produce viscose, a material commonly used in the fashion industry. The factories themselves are own Aditya Birla Group. The researchers found that many people in the local communities in the areas around these production sites are suffering from serious health issues. These health issues include cancer, tuberculosis and birth defects. Illegal discharge of waste was also found, with traces found in water throughout the area. The researchers also describe the area as being defined by strong smelling and visibly red pollution.
Another independent laboratory study was carried out, and found in an air sample that the air outside one of the factories evidenced significant traces of carbon disulphide (a chemical used to produce viscose). The traces were so significant, in fact, that they were 125 times the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guideline.
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